A tale of two seasons played out at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Myrtle Beach, now with a smothering defense to complement its typical high-powered offense, rolled through visiting Socastee 70-0. The result was not shocking, but the level of dominance displayed by the Seahawks on both sides of the ball as well as special teams served notice that this group is capable of big things down the road.
“We have a chance to be a really good football team,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “You don’t know when that is going to happen. We have to continue to get better every day. Our kids have got to live in the moment and not get caught up [looking down the road]. “
The Braves offense came into the game averaging over 400 yards per contest, but the Seahawks limited Socastee to 167 yards and forced two fumbles and blocked a punt. Socastee didn’t cross midfield until the final minute of the second quarter and didn’t get a non-penalty first down until that final drive of the opening half with Myrtle Beach leading 49-0. The deepest Braves drive of the night reached the Myrtle Beach 31.
“[The Myrtle Beach defense] has a chance to be a special unit if we can stay healthy,” Wilson said. “They have done a tremendous job and our defensive staff has done a great job. We are flying around, and we are playing well and playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
The Seahawks offense is starting to look like days of old as it put up over 500 yards in this one. Junior quarterback Lawson Cribb threw for 290 yards and five first-half touchdowns while sophomore Toronto King, a sophomore transfer from Carvers Bay, rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Keyonte Sessions scored three times – once on the ground and two through the air – while Will Vereen caught two of Cribb’s touchdown throws.
For Socastee, the loss must serve as a learning experience for an inexperienced squad.
“The kids are embarrassed,” Braves coach Doug Illing said. “They are determined to get back out there Monday and go to work. That is where it starts. It starts with the players’ determination to get back out there and get it corrected. Without a doubt, I like what I heard in the [postgame] huddle. The kids are very determined, speaking up, and pulling for each other to get it back right.”
Junior quarterback Hunter Illing was 11-for-21 passing for 109 yards while senior Malachi McClendon led the rushing attack with 36 yards on 12 carries.
“We will keep working on a young bunch growing,” Illing said. “We are playing a lot of young, inexperienced guys on defense, and they played a good football team tonight with a lot of speed. They got introduced to what it is like. We will grow from it, and we’ll get better.”
Myrtle Beach (4-0) will host Carolina Forest next Friday in a matchup of two undefeated Grand Strand teams while Socastee (1-2) will host North Myrtle Beach.
MB—Keyonte Sessions 2 run (Matthew Card kick), 10:14
MB—Sessions 11 pass from Lawson Cribb (Card kick), 7:07
MB—Daron Finkley 23 pass from Cribb (Card kick), 3:53
MB—Will Vereen 19 pass from Cribb (Card kick), 2:02
MB— Vereen 64 pass from Cribb (Card kick), 10:46
MB—Toronto King 35 run (Card kick), 7:22
MB—Sessions 16 pass from Cribb (Card kick), 2:42
MB—King 5 run (Card kick), 9:12
MB—King 7 run (Card kick), 7:00
MB—Kylis Vereen 4 run (Card kick), 2:03
Rushing: Socastee, Edward Tucker 11-1, Hunter Illing 6-(-11), Justin Thornburg 1-5, Dashaun Myers 8-27, Malachi McClendon 12-36, Team 1-(-10). Myrtle Beach, Keyonte Sessions 1-2, Jermani Green 10-52, Toronto King 14-171, Austin Riggs 2-0.
Passing: Socastee, Illing 11-21-0-109. Myrtle Beach, Lawson Cribb 20-23-0-290, Riggs 3-4-0-29.
Receiving: Socastee, Aeneas Green 5-44, Devin Stamp 2-47, Nick Carnucci 1-(-4), Tucker 1-7, Bricen Nguyen 1-8, McClendon 1-7. Myrtle Beach, Will Vereen 7-140, Sessions 2-27, Daron Finkley 6-84, Marcus Grissett 4-31, Green 3-22, Jaquan Chestnut 1-15.