MYRTLE BEACH — Carolina Forest’s losing ways to Myrtle Beach are finally over after eight long seasons.
The Panthers, on the strength of a monster night from quarterback Will Brunson, won 41-35 Friday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. It was the first time since 2004 that Carolina Forest won in the series. That span of games was all decided by double digits with the closest game – a 19-point margin – coming in 2005.
Needless to say, this game has not served the Panthers and coach Drew Hummel well. Until now.
“It’s awesome,” Brunson said after throwing for 423 yards and five touchdowns. “It says that our record doesn’t show what our football team is. … We can do anything we want to do. [Friday] proved that.”
Brunson connected with junior Kyle Belack for 17 yards with just 27 seconds left in the game to break a 35-35 tie and put the Panthers up for one final time. It was the third time the duo paired up for a touchdown in the game.
Carolina Forest, which lost its first four games of the season to a variety of opponents, found a way to keep this one from looking like many of the previous Myrtle Beach games. But even the Seahawks weren’t doing their damage in the same old fashion.
Sophomore tailback Brandon Sinclair ran for 320 yards and three touchdowns, including two long ones in the third quarter. One of the area’s top rushers continued to put pressure on the Panthers’ defense. However, when Carolina Forest needed its biggest stop of the game, it got it.
Hummel’s team forced the Seahawks to punt with a little under 7 minutes remaining in the game. The Panthers took over at their own 20-yard line. From there, Brunson and a slew of offensive weapons not only scored the go-ahead touchdown; they drained nearly all of the time off the clock and prevented Myrtle Beach from having enough time to either force overtime or win the game.
“We’re not very good right now,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “We’ve got to get better.”
The Seahawks, 1-3, have now lost more regular-season games than any other year in Wilson’s tenure. As for Carolina Forest, the loss prevented the team from falling to 0-5 for the first time since 2008, when the team finished the season without a win in its first year at the Class AAAA level.
The Panthers aren’t on a roll by any means, but this one did mean something.
“It’s a big win for our program,” said Hummel, who beat Myrtle Beach for the first time in seven tries. “It’s a big win for all of us. It’s been a tough roller coaster here for four weeks. We know we have a good football team. But we just can’t get the pieces. We’re getting some people back and solidifying things. I think the start of it was last week [against White Knoll]. It carried over to this week.”
CF – Zavier Jones 72 rec from Will Brunson (Kyle Belack kick)
MB – Kelton Greene 44 INT return (Sean Huggins kick)
CF – Belack 20 rec from Brunson (Belack kick)
MB – Graham Vaughn 27 rec from Jake Deskins (Huggins kick)
MB – Brandon Sinclair 8 run (Huggins kick)
CF – Jharian Davis 7 run (Belack kick)
MB – Sinclair 51 run (Huggins kick)
MB – Sinclair 78 run (Huggins kick)
CF – Belack 71 rec from Brunson (kick blocked)
CF – Jones 14 rec from Brunson (Belack from Brunson)
CF – Belack 17 rec from Brunson (kick blocked
Rushing: CF –Jharian Davis 27-100; Will Brunson 8-48. MB – Brandon Sinclair 28-320
Passing: CF – Brunson 28-38-1, 423 yards. MB – Jake Deskins 10-17-1, 128 yards.
Receiving: CF – Kyle Belack 13-173; Zavier Jones 7-150; Terik Graves 5-53; Michael Wynne 2-17; Khalil Brantley 1-5. MB – Kelton Greene 5-61;; Graham Vaughn 3-65; C.J. Finkley 2-22.
RECORDS: Carolina Forest 1-4; Myrtle Beach 1-3
Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.