Socastee did its part.
The Braves, courtesy of a win over Region VII-AAA foe North Myrtle Beach Friday night, have set up what is going to be a highly anticipated matchup with Myrtle Beach in six days. And outside of a few minutes in the third quarter, Socastee made sure this was never really in doubt.
Coach Tim Renfrow’s team went on to win 45-14, improving to 6-0 for the first time in his 10 years as the school’s head coach and propelling Socastee into next week. And the Braves aren’t going to be happy with simply playing the Seahawks close.
“We have to beat them,” Braves senior Erick Mortel said. “We have to beat them. We have to beat them to make me happy, to make this team happy, to make this town happy.”
The type of opportunistic play the Braves used Friday would help against Myrtle Beach.
In addition to 169 yards rushing from Socastee quarterback Hunter Renfrow, the Braves forced five total turnovers and made the most of several short-field situations throughout the night.
It helped make up for a pair of Braves turnovers, including one in the second half when North Myrtle Beach made a mini-charge to narrow a big first-half deficit to just 17 points.
“We got some big breaks and took advantage of them,” Renfrow said. “But we were not as disciplined as we need to be if we need to beat Myrtle Beach.
“Ain’t no doubt, we were lucky in a lot of areas.”
Maybe so, but the Braves’ running game – even for a relatively light total of 301 yards (about 91 lower than their average) – still made an impact. They attempted some pass plays early to no avail, although Renfrow said he was trying to catch North Myrtle Beach off-guard.
The plays didn’t work, but it also mattered little.
It didn’t help that the Chiefs were without their best player. Junior tailback Delonzo Williams was a late scratch from the game after suffering an ankle injury last week at Green Sea Floyds. Williams (765 yards, 11 touchdowns) was 162 yards ahead of the night’s highest rusher on the Grand Strand entering the night.
Williams hardly practiced in the days leading up to the game, and coach Perry Woolbright had said that he would not sacrifice Williams for the rest of the season in order to increase his chances against the Braves.
“He wouldn’t have been at full speed,” Woolbright said after the loss. “There was been no sense in playing him [if he wasn’t] at full speed with four more region games to go. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent before we put him back there.”
Even with Williams in the backfield, it may not have mattered, if for no other reason the Braves dominated on special teams. They forced fumbles on a kickoff return and a punt return. Mortel also scored on a 21-yard punt return when North Myrtle Beach players appeared to believe the ball had gone out of bounds. Instead, though, Mortel noticed no whistle had been called, picked it up and took it in for an easy score.
It was that type of game for Socastee, and it helped bring on next week’s showdown between two 6-0 teams.
|North Myrtle Beach||0||6||8||0||-||14|
SOC – Hunter Renfrow 75 run (Matt Trimby kick)
SOC – Renfrow 10 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Erick Mortel 21 punt return (Trimby kick)
SOC – Tommy Lazaroff 1 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Ryan Sutton 33 FG
NMB – Kyle Cooper 10 rec from Kendrick Furness (kick failed)
NMB – Jahlen Livingston 10 rec from Furness (conversion good)
SOC – Lazaroff 16 run (Sutton kick)
SOC – Renfrow 11 run (Sutton kick)