LITTLE RIVER — Myrtle Beach wasn’t ready to change the status quo.
Despite early season struggles while the Seahawks acclimated to fresh faces – and with their best player on the bench with an injury Friday – they continued the status quo against North Myrtle Beach. Coach Mickey Wilson’s team extended its win streak over the Chiefs to seven straight games with a 30-28 road win.
In doing so, Myrtle Beach will now be at home next week when the Class AAA playoffs open while North Myrtle Beach will hit the road.
“This was kind of a weird game,” Wilson said. “There was a lot of crazy stuff that happened. At any time, they could have hung their heads. … This was a huge region win.”
The victory certainly wasn’t easy.
Myrtle Beach sophomore tailback Brandon Sinclair, the area’s top rusher, was held out after suffering bruised ribs. He was replaced by DaJour Wilson. The senior had a solid game in relief, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown.
But this one was more about the adjustments made by the team’s once-prolific passing game.
Sophomore quarterback Drayton Arnold wasn’t exactly effective early. He had three interceptions by the midway point of the third quarter, when the Chiefs led 21-7. He responded by completing 10 of his last 17 passes for 147 of his 262 passing yards on the night. He also had two touchdowns in the final 12:17 of regulation, and led the team on two other scoring drives.
Combined with a defense that pretty much locked down North Myrtle Beach in the second half, and the Seahawks’ result was exactly what the team needed to secure a second-place region finish.
“We knew that we were going to fight adversity,” Arnold said of Sinclair’s absence. “It was just how we were going to do that.”
Said Wilson: “Our sophomore quarterback grew up a little bit tonight. He settled down. He was a little wild in the first half. He threw three picks, but he came back and threw three touchdowns. We have some young kids who are getting better, and hopefully we can continue on that path.”
The immediate path will take Myrtle Beach (6-4) back to Doug Shaw, where the Seahawks will open the Class AAA playoffs at home, most likely against Berkeley. The official playoff brackets could be released as early sometime Saturday.
North Myrtle Beach (8-2) will also be a part of the postseason field, although its prospects will likely lie in facing off against an Orangeburg-Wilkinson team also ranked among the state’s top 10. It will mark the first trip to the playoffs in Perry Woolbright’s four seasons as head coach.
He’ll need the best effort from guys like Delonzo Williams and Kendrick Furness in that one. But he may also have to re-inspire his team after an obviously deflating loss to Myrtle Beach.
Reminding his players of the strides they’ve already made might not hurt.
“The last three years, when we walked into the locker room at this time, we’re taking up equipment. Now, we’re putting the equipment in the lockers, going home and letting this one hurt tonight. But we’ve got to be ready to go to war next week,” he said.
NMB – Tyrique Robinson 12 rec from Kendrick Furness (Christian Buis kick)
NMB – Delonzo Williams 1 run (Buis kick)
MB – Graham Vaughn 25 rec from Drayton Arnold (Sean Huggins kick)
NMB – Cameron Gore 24 rec from Furness (Buis kick)
MB – Malik Waring 30 rec from Arnold (Huggins kick)
MB – Waring 13 rec from Arnold (kick blocked)
MB – Huggins 32 FG
MB – DaJour Wilson 7 run (Huggins kick)
NMB – Jordan Perry 6 rec from Furness (Buis kick)
RUSHING—MB – DaJour Wilson 18-125; Drayton Arnold 6-21. NMB – Delonzo Williams 19-48; Laquinn Bellamy 1-(-)1; Kendrick Furness 3-14; Colby Gore 2-0.
PASSING—MB – Arnold 22-72-3, 263 yards. NMB – Furness 18-32-2, 208 yards; Kyle Cooper 0-1-0.
RECEIVING—MB – Kelton Greene 6-49; Malik Waring 6-103; Hunter Starbeck 1-13; Wilson 3-5; Graham Vaughn 5-92; Malik Pryor 1-3. NMB – Cameron Gore 2-23; Tyrique Robinson 4-29; Kyle Cooper 7-82; Colby Gore 2-37; Jordan Perry 1-6; Williams 2-22.
Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.