It is a bitter taste that Marc Morris never wants to get used to.
But as he surveyed dozens of dejected faces following Friday’s loss to Myrtle Beach, the Carolina Forest head man had a simple message for his team.
“By no means did you fail tonight, you’re not a failure,” Morris said. “ You have no reason to hang your heads. Our community is proud and I’m proud.
“We believed we were going to win this game, and just came up a bit short. You left everything out here on the field, and that’s all I could ask for.”
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Given the sobering news that star running back Dyverse Simmons was out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, few gave the Panthers a shot to compete against Class 4A’s top-ranked team — much less an puncher’s chance to knock off the mighty Seahawks.
And yet midway through the fourth quarter, Carolina Forest held a four-point lead and needed only to take care of business on 3rd-and-18 to draw ever closer to the upset.
Heartbreak is a part of life, however, and comes unexpectedly. Like good teams are apt to do, a screen pass from Myrtle Beach quarterback Lawson Cribb to running back Jermani Green earned the necessary yardage and more, ending with a 64-yard touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 24-21 lead.
It would prove to be the decisive play in a game laden with ones shifting momentum from one sideline to the other.
Victors always get first dibs on the spoils. However, much more can be gleaned from the game for the Panthers, who can truly take to the bank that their team truly is no “one-man show.”
Though certainly difficult to match Simmons’ output of 200 yards per game, running back Anthony McAfee did his part to shoulder the load, rushing 18 times for 95 yards. Knowing this could potentially have long term benefits for the squad, and in particular quarterback Matt Beale
“We’re not built around one man,” said Carolina Forest quarterback Matt Beale. “(McAfee) is a warrior. He’s been banged up and yet he keeps fighting and fighting. It’s the thing about our team, our running backs fight for everything and play hard.
“We love this team, and we love each other. It’s a family.”
AROUND THE AREA
▪ It took a decade, but North Myrtle Beach is back in the win column against rival Socastee. The Chiefs put together arguably their most complete performance of the season en route to a 45-3 win. Quarterback Ronnie Bass was an efficient 9-of-11 for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while running backs T.J. Gore and Kered Class spearheaded a North Myrtle Beach rushing attack that racked up 240 yards.
▪ Georgetown continued its winning ways, overcoming a slow start to shutout St. James, 29-0. The Bulldogs dominance on Friday night started in the trenches, limiting St. James to -7 yards on the ground, and 13 negative-yardage plays — including five sacks. Quarterback Tyler McAlister had his best game of the season, completing 14-of-18 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
▪ The week prior, Carvers Bay head coach Nate Thompson did his best to emphasize to players the importance of games within their league. Apparently, the Bears took those words to heart, dominating Andrews — the No. 8 team in Class 2A — in a 20-0 win. Quarterback Levi White scored a pair of touchdowns to lead the way for Carvers Bay.
Sometimes you have ugly wins … you don’t like them to be ugly, but you’re happy to have the win nevertheless. I think the biggest thing is that I’m proud of our kids because we faced a lot of adversity tonight, and that’s something we talked about going into the game. We’ve had some wins as of late where we’ve been able to beat up on some teams and get ahead of them early. So I’m proud of my kids for being able to go through that adversity and pull out a big win.
Myrtle Beach head football coach Mickey Wilson on his team finding a way to defeat rival Carolina Forest on Friday night
▪ Aynor will head to its bye week on an emotional high, the Blue Jackets winning their third game in a row courtesy of a 43-0 shutout of West Columbus (N.C.). Noah Seaver had a career night, toting the rock 18 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. Brayden Nobles also had 13 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
▪ Green Sea Floyds head coach Tony Sullivan feels his team still has plenty of wins it can add to the tote board this season. The Trojans added one of those emphatically on Friday night, trouncing Military Magnet, 53-6. Stepping up for the Trojans was senior Akil Gause, who had a couple of touchdown runs. Meanwhile, Andrew McCray had a kickoff return touchdown, and Daquan Jackson and Muhammad Graham returned fumbles for touchdowns to highlight a big night on the defensive side.
▪ Hemingway dominated all three facets of play en route to shutting out Waccamaw, 44-0.
▪ Matt Beale, Carolina Forest: He completed 9 of 17 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, while adding 73 yards on 12 carries and another score in the Panthers’ 24-21 loss to Myrtle Beach.
▪ Tyler McAlister, Georgetown: The Bulldogs quarterback completed 14-of-18 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns to propel his team to a 29-0 victory over St. James.
▪ Noah Seaver, Aynor: It was a career night for the sophomore running back, rushing 18 times for 184 yards and a touchdown in the Blue Jackets’ 43-0 win over West Columbus (N.C.).
▪ T.J. Gore, North Myrtle Beach: Helping his team snap a nine-game losing streak to rival Socastee, the Chiefs running back had 18 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown in their 45-3 win.
▪ Akil Gause, Green Sea Floyds: While low on carries, the Trojans running back was big on yards Friday night, his five carries netting 151 yards and two touchdowns as Green Sea Floyds got back in the win column with a 53-6 win over Military Magnet.
0Number of catches Carolina Forest wide receiver Justin Elko had coming into Friday night’s game with Myrtle Beach. Though it would not be enough, the senior caught four passes for 115 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers.
1. Myrtle Beach: An “ugly” win is a win nevertheless. The Seahawks overcame sloppy play to take down a solid Carolina Forest squad.
2. North Myrtle Beach: The Chiefs finally showed what they can do when limiting mistakes … and it is downright scary.
3. Carolina Forest: While there is nothing gained from losing, the Panthers earned plenty of respect by pushing Myrtle Beach to the limit.
4. Conway: A bye week should help the Tigers as they prepare for the annual Battle for the Victory Bell with Myrtle Beach.
5. Georgetown: One has to wonder if the Bulldogs would like to just skip their bye week and keep playing. But a week off will do a banged up Georgetown squad a lot of good.
Myrtle Beach at Conway (The Sun News’ Game of the Week)
Loris at Carolina Forest
Carvers Bay at Kingstree
Camden Military at Green Sea Floyds
North Myrtle Beach at Camden
Socastee at St. James
Waccamaw at Hannah-Pamplico