“Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.”
Sure, it’s cliche. But this past Friday the notion held true, as the three area survivors – Carvers Bay, Conway and North Myrtle Beach – leaned on their respective defenses to win.
Arguably the second round’s marquee game, the Chiefs bent but did not break on multiple occasions against Cane Bay.
Four times the Cobras drove inside the North Myrtle Beach 10-yard line, but only came away with a pair of touchdowns. The other two drives?
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▪ Repeatedly moving the chains and chewing clock, a Cane Bay march of longer than 10 minutes ended without points after the Chiefs were stopped on fourth-and-2 from the 3-yard line.
▪ On the opening drive of the second half, a heave by Cobras quarterback R.J. Roderick toward the end zone was intercepted by North Myrtle Beach defensive back Dondre Thompson in the end zone.
In an old-fashioned slugfest as the game in Little River turned out to be, even the slightest of mistakes could prove fatal. Cane Bay blinked, and the Chiefs capitalized.
“Those plays, they were huge,” said North Myrtle Beach head coach Blair Hardin. “They were what we needed, at the time we needed them. We figured (Cane Bay) would run on us a little bit, that’s what they’ve done all year.
“But all we asked for our boys on defense was to hang in there. They hung in there, and good things happened.”
The Chiefs’ offense rewarded the defense’s effort with timely drives, allowing it to dictate time, score and possession down the stretch in a 28-14 win.
North Myrtle Beach’s defense has been statistically one of the best in the Palmetto State this season – regardless of classification. On the other hand, the way Conway’s run defense acquitted itself on Friday night offered a glimpse into why it is making a deep playoff run.
After giving up more than 200 yards on the ground to Wando in Week 1, the Tigers got back to the basics in an effort to restore the physicality and want to tackle necessary to win.
I think any team that makes a deep playoff run has got to continue to define themselves as a unit as the year goes on. That’s what I’ve seen this team do a little bit. There are so many variables to making a deep playoff run and the team has to adapt.
Conway football coach Chuck Jordan
Not one necessarily in love with playing triple-option attacks in consecutive weeks, the opportunity to see the offensive scheme in last week against Goose Creek may have benefited Conway football coach Chuck Jordan and his team in round two.
The Tigers defense shut out Spring Valley, limiting it to a mere 174 total yards on offense. Coming in, the Vikings were scoring almost 33 points per game.
“I give all the credit to our defensive coaches and our kids, because that team was averaging 32 points a game or something like that and we shut them down,” Jordan said. “We created a few turnovers in the process. You’ve just got to win however you can in the playoffs – sometimes it’s going to be offense or the kicking game – tonight we played lights-out defense.”
There was little mystery for the Carvers Bay defense in its matchup with Whale Branch. All eyes were on the Warriors’ Irvin Mulligan, who had rushed for nearly 1,600 yards and 26 touchdowns coming in to Friday’s Class 2A second-round matchup.
Averaging 8 yards per carry, the Bears limited him to half of that, constantly forcing Whale Branch to drive the long field.
Against Carvers Bay, it proved to be a recipe for failure, with the Warriors unable to hit pay dirt. In fact, the Bears defense outscored the Whale Branch offense 8-0 – notching two points by way of a safety and returning an interception for a touchdown.
“Defensively we were able to control the run game,” said Carvers Bay football coach Nate Thompson. “That was one of the main things we wanted to take away, and make them do something they did not want to do, which was pass the ball. So we had to stop the run game. We couldn’t stop it but we slowed it down enough that we took that edge away from them.”
B-C SURGES PAST BULLDOGS: All season long, the Georgetown defense prided itself on not giving up big plays on the ground. But on Friday night, Brookland-Cayce cracked the riddle and thus helped end the Bulldogs’ season.
An 87-yard touchdown run by Bearcats running back Rasheed Taylor helped tie the game at 21, then two more scoring runs effectively put Georgetown to bed in a 42-21 win.
HISTORIC SEASON ENDS FOR TROJANS: After a scoreless opening quarter, C.E. Murray effectively shut down the Green Sea Floyds running game, holding the team’s leading rusher, Mahammud Graham, to 78 yards on 20 carries in a 32-6 win.
Carvers Bay defense: A week after forcing six turnovers in a win over Buford, the Bears defensive unit added three more to the board, returning an interception to pay dirt along with forcing Whale Branch into a safety in their 22-7 win.
Peyton Derrick, Conway: The Appalachian State commit completed 11 of 22 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown, along with rushing for 111 yards and another score in the Tigers’14-0 win over Spring Valley.
Cason McClendon, North Myrtle Beach: The Chiefs sophomore quarterback completed 12 of 20 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns to lead his team to a 28-14 win over Cane Bay.
0Spring Valley came into Friday’s game averaging almost 33 points per game. The Vikings were unable to crack the scoreboard against Conway, however, the Tigers defense effectively shutting down their vaunted triple option attack.
Darren Stanley, Conway: For the second consecutive week, the senior wideout made a contribution in the Tigers’ defensive backfield, hauling in a pair of interceptions in the Tigers’ 14-0 win over Spring Valley.
Dondre Thompson, North Myrtle Beach: The Chiefs defensive back had seven solo tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in his team’s 28-14 win over Cane Bay.
Conway at Fort Dorchester: Two of the state’s most prolific quarterbacks in Conway’s Peyton Derrick and Fort Dorchester’s Dakereon Joyner will face off with a trip to the Lower State 5A final at stake.
North Myrtle Beach at Chapin: In the third round for the first time since the early 2000s, the Chiefs take to the Midlands to face Region V-4A champion Chapin.
Barnwell at Carvers Bay: The Bears find themselves the lone team among Lower State 2A’s final four not from Region V-2A. A stout Barnwell squad will pay a visit, with the winner moving a step closer to the ultimate goal.