Just a little before 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Victory Bell trophy sat on the ground next to the Conway bench.
No one was paying much attention to it.
Three hours later, the situation couldn’t have been more reversed.
Courtesy of a 56-55 win over the Tigers, Myrtle Beach reclaimed the trophy, ringing in the locker room and taking pictures with it on the field. But the post-game pomp didn’t hold a candle to what happened during it.
“That was just a wild game,” Seahawks coach Mickey Wilson said. “The biggest thing about that is that was playoff football. [Friday] was playoff football. It’s just going to be so great that when we do get into the playoffs, we can look back and see how we handled the adversity tonight and how we fought back and how we stuck together.”
For all the big plays, huge numbers and final score, it came down to the last offensive play Conway ran. After scoring the final touchdown, Tigers coach Chuck Jordan elected to go for two points and attempt to take the lead with 1:12 remaining.
The staff drew up a perfect play, as quarterback Mykal Moody hit a wide-open Nathan Nesbitt. However, Nesbitt couldn’t hold on. Conway’s on-side kick attempt was futile, and the Seahawks ran out the clock.
It was the closest game in the series since Conway won 7-6 in 2006. But for as much as that game was all about defense, this one was offense-centric.
Myrtle Beach quarterback Tyler Keane threw for 519 yards and a state-record-tying eight touchdown passes. Three Seahawk receivers Trell Harrell (eight catches, 155 yards), C.J. Cooper (six for 122) and Renard Pointer (four for 118) surpassed the 100-yard plateau.
It more than made up for the fact that Conway forced four Myrtle Beach turnovers and was leading 14-0 to start the game.
Keane had only 56 yards passing in the first quarter before erupting in the second quarter for 250 in that period alone.
“Our offensive line, our receivers getting open, my coaches coaching me up on the sidelines,” Keane reasoned. “It wasn’t just me. I think we did [need a game like this]. This gives us more confidence entering region.”
The win propelled Myrtle Beach, the No. 1 team in Class AAA in South Carolina, to an undefeated non-region slate. The Seahawks head to Wilson next week to start Region VII-AAA play. They haven’t lost in the region since 2008.
Conway, meanwhile, was dealt another blow as the Tigers fell to 2-4. They couldn’t repeat the fourth-quarter magic they used a week ago to beat Marlboro County 42-40.
Moody, who threw for 165 yards and ran for another 153, became only the third known player in state history to have passed for 3,000 yards and run for another 3,000. He’s inching up on 4,000 passing yards.
However, even another strong performance from him wasn’t enough to overcome Myrtle Beach’s offensive output.
“I just think everybody’s getting more comfortable,” Wilson said. “And I think it will continue to go that way.”
C – Mykal Moody 1 run (Ashton McCants kick)
C – Bryan Edwards 7 rec from Moody (McCants kick)
MB – C.J. Cooper 29 rec from Tyler Keane (Max Huggins kick)
C – Tyreke Phillips 1 run (McCants kick)
MB – Cooper 4 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
MB – Harrell 22 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
MB – Harrell 52 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
C – Phillips 23 run (McCants kick)
MB – Cooper 40 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
C – Damar Williams 48 fumble return (McCants kick)
MB – Malik Waring 7 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
C – Malcolm Green 71 rec from Moody (McCants kick)
C – Edwards 25 rec from Moody (McCants kick)
MB – Renard Pointer 31 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
MB – Waring 12 rec from Keane (Huggins kick)
C – Moody 13 run (conversion failed)