A clash of the titans in Horry County came away as a slugfest, as Myrtle Beach escaped Conway with a 13-8 victory and reclaimed the Victory Bell.
The win gave Myrtle Beach the Victory Bell for the fourth time in five tries. Conway owns the all-time record at 40-15-1, though Myrtle Beach has dominated much of the last decade, winning eight of 10 games. Current Myrtle Beach head coach Mickey Wilson helped Conway beat the Seahawks during his time as the Tigers’ quarterback, but has run up six wins against his alma mater since taking over at Myrtle Beach.
On a rain-soaked playing surface at Conway High School on Friday, the two offenses were grounded. The high-flying spread system used by Myrtle Beach sputtered to produce just 68 yards through the air and zero touchdowns. Conway’s balanced rushing attack was spearheaded by its quarterback, Peyton Derrick, who led the Tigers with 55 yards. With little going right for the offenses, special teams play provided scoring opportunities with mistakes by both teams leading to points.
In the first quarter, Conway (2-3) had an errant snap on a punt that gave Myrtle Beach possession in the red zone. The Seahawks (6-0) would find the end zone via a Keyonte Sessions 4-yard run to take an early 7-0 lead. Myrtle Beach would gift Conway two points and the football on a snap over the head of its punter, leading to a safety.
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“I’m just proud of our kids. This is a tough, tough playing surface,” said Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson. “To be honest with you, I feel sorry for the kids for having to play on it. We fought in the mud, that’s what we’ve been talking about all week – fighting in the mud and getting a win – we did that.”
Myrtle Beach would have another short field in the second quarter on another bad long snap by Conway, leading to yet another Sessions score on the ground. The field would claim the footing of Myrtle Beach kicker Matthew Card, giving the Seahawks a 13-2 advantage going into the half.
“You knew early on that ball handling was going to be an issue,” Wilson said. “We got some breaks there early on with a couple of things, even though we had a bad snap there early on to give up some points. They did a great job and they’ve been carrying us all year, our defense has been phenomenal. They’re getting better – that’s what’s scary.”
Conway never had the scoring chances to claw back into the game against Myrtle Beach, producing two first downs on offense in the first half.
“I was just very disappointed with our offense, I thought our defense played well,” said Conway coach Chuck Jordan. “Our offense obviously just didn’t get it going in the first half. We put ourselves in a hole and had some special teams mishaps that really cost us. At the end of the day, you can’t make mistakes and win a tight ballgame like that. We spotted them early and never really caught back up because we were sloppy on offense.”
Jordan said his defense played well enough to win the ballgame, a change from two weeks ago against Hartsville, where his offense carried the team in a 62-28 loss.
“We’ve got a long way to go; we’re not a good football team right now,” he said. “We’ve got to get a whole lot better. Like I told the kids, the good thing is that our playoffs are totally determined by our region play. The non-region is a thing of the past and we’re starting over. How we do in the next few weeks is going to mean everything for us.”
The Tigers can build on the final quarter of play, where they were able to move the ball effectively on offense, scoring their lone touchdown of the night and seemed to finally figure out the Myrtle Beach defensive attack.
For Myrtle Beach, the win continues an undefeated stretch in the non-region slate of the schedule. Wilson’s team has had impressive wins over Byrnes, Carolina Forest and now Conway to prepare for a tough region slate of games.
“It’s a big win, it’s a big rival,” he said of beating Conway. “This is one of the things we talk about during the (preseason), playing Conway and the great tradition of it. Getting a win up here is huge. Now the season starts for us, with region play starting next week. We’ve got a good North Myrtle Beach team coming to our place. That’s a huge ballgame.”
MB – Keyonte Sessions 4-yard run (Matthew Card kick good) 7:26
Con – Team safety 4:52
MB – Sessions 1-yard run (Kick failed) 7:10
Con – Daiquawn Clark 1-yard run (2-point conversion pass failed) 4:14
Rushing: MB: Toronto King 2-0, Jermani Green 15-40, Sessions 8-17 2TD, Lawson Cribb 1-3. Total: 26-60 2TD. Con: Deondre Huggins 10-19, Peyton Derrick 10-55, Clark 4-5 1TD, Rakim Bellamy 2-26. Total: 26-105 1TD.
Passing: MB: Cribb 7-21-55-0-0. Austin Riggs 1-1-13-0-0. Total: 8-22-68-0-0. Con: Derrick 19-29-152-0-2. Keith autry Benton 1-1-6-0-0. Total: 20-30-158-0-2.
Receiving: Riggs 1-8, Sessions 2-24, Jaquan Chestnut 1-9, Green 2-14, Daron Finkley 2-13. Total: 8-68. Con: Willie Brantley 2-14, Huggins 2-6, Darren Stanley 5-50, Bellamy 1-8, Derrick 1-6, Juwan Moody 3-38, Darren Grainger 1-10, Clark 2-5, Tyrek Weaver 3-21. Total: 20-158.