A win’s a win … no matter how one slices it.
But on Friday night, there was no celebrating in the North Myrtle Beach huddle, with head coach Blair Hardin the primary one voicing his displeasure.
“It seemed we lost our focus,” he said. “We didn’t tackle well and didn’t play the way that we certainly can. Playing against good teams, not paying attention to and doing the small things can get you beat.”
However, it was more than enough on this occasion, the Chiefs using a dominant second-half performance to overwhelm an undermanned Carvers Bay squad, 42-12.
Things seemed it would be all too easy for North Myrtle Beach, scoring 21 points in the game’s opening quarter – one for each facet of the game:
▪ On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Ronnie Bass connected with wideout Tyler Gore for a 41-yard touchdown;
▪ Mere plays later, a shanked punt was picked up by Reece Finch and taken to 40 yards to pay dirt;
▪ Chris Johnson took an errant pass from Carvers Bay quarterback Levi White 69 yards for a score.
If one were playing Madden on PlayStation or Xbox, a player would be forced “to pass the sticks” should they fall behind by 21 points or more. In the belief of Hardin, his team played as if the game was over.
“We took our foot off the pedal and relaxed,” he said. “That’s not something we can do. And it almost cost us in the second quarter.”
Carvers Bay owned a large portion of the second quarter, engineering a pair of long drives, though only able to get anything out of one of them – a nine-play, 52-yard drive punctuated by a White 1-yard touchdown run to cut the North Myrtle Beach lead to 21-6. Minutes later, Chris Bryant scooped up a Bass fumble, and rumbled 37 yards to pull the Bears within nine at 21-12.
Seeing their lead dwindle and momentum on the other sideline, the Chiefs bore down, answering with a quick drive of their own. Needing only five plays, Bass’ second touchdown pass to Gore just before halftime re-established North Myrtle Beach’s two-score lead, and for all intents and purposes put the game away.
Bass would add another touchdown pass to Gore later in the contest, in addition to catching his second touchdown pass of the season from wide receiver Naseem Harrison.
“I was real proud of Bass, he played a real complete game,” Hardin said. “I was real proud of what we did in the pass game and the run game. Tyler, his name was called and he did his job for our team. We just have guys who buy in to doing their team job, and they did that and we’re happy about it.”
Most teams would be satisfied with a 2-2 mark following the schedule that Carvers Bay played, a non-region slate loaded with teams from classes 3A and 4A. But coach Nate Thompson said playing teams like Myrtle Beach are meant to prepare for what’s really important – conference play.
“We wanted to play North Myrtle Beach. We knew they were good, and felt we could win,” Thompson said. “But you can’t do that making the mistakes we did. This week, we must get them straightened out, because things really begin to count starting next week.”
North Myrtle Beach travels to Socastee next week, while Carvers Bay heads to Andrews.
NMB - Tyler Gore 41 pass from Ronnie Bass (Andrew Smith kick)
NMB - Reece Finch 29 punt return (Smith kick)
NMB - Chris Johnson 65 interception return (Smith kick)
CB - Levi White 1 run (kick failed)
CB - Chris Bryant 37 fumble return (conversion failed)
NMB - Gore 26 pass from Bass (Smith kick)
NMB - Naseem Harrison 18 pass to Bass (Smith kick)
NMB - Gore 9 pass from Bass (Smith kick)
Rushing: NMB: Kered Class 11-84, Ronnie Bass 8-29, T.J. Gore 6-23, Team 1–15. CB: Janaz Sumpter 12-82, Levi White 7-26, Quevon Dickerson 10-18, Deronn Clark 1-12.
Passing: NMB: Bass 8-10-139-0, Naseem Harrison 1-1-18-0. CB: White 2-10-13-1, Sumpter 2-5-58-0.
Receiving: NMB: Tyler Gore 4-92, Xavier Clarida 1-22, Ronnie Bass 1-18, Reece Finch 1-12. CB: Deronn Clark 2-29, Stephon Green 1-38, Kordell Verner 1-4.