St. James solidified it’s chances of reaching the postseason, holding off a late North Myrtle Beach rally and overcoming four turnovers to escape with a 24-19 win on Friday night.
“That’s all you can ask for. It wasn’t pretty,” St. James coach Mark Fischer said. “We were pretty lucky to get out of here [with a win] when you turn the ball over as many times as we did. We told the kids it wasn’t really something to be proud of, but we’ll take it.”
St. James had three fumbles and an interception, including one drop in the third quarter that set up a touchdown and another in the fourth that gave North Myrtle Beach the ball back with a chance to take the lead.
The Sharks (2-6 overall, 2-2 Region VII-AAA) seemed to be in control midway through the third quarter when quarterback Josh Roper found Tre McCallum with a touchdown pass for the second time in the game to put St. James ahead 24-6.
But North Myrtle Beach (4-5, 0-4), which hasn’t won a region game under coach Perry Woolbright, wasn’t ready to cave. Less than a minute later Delonzo Williams cranked out a 76-yard touchdown run to cut the lead in half.
Williams added a 7-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 5, and the Chiefs’ defense stepped up several times to keep St. James from scoring again, but in the end the Sharks were able to keep the Chiefs from scoring again and hang on and stay in playoff contention.
“They made some good adjustments, started taking away what we were wanting to do,” Fischer said. “And then ball security. We still moved the ball some of the time, but then we’d get it down in the red zone and then spit it up. That’s comes back down to us. They did some good things, but you can’t give it back to them when they’ve got a roll going defensively like that.”
Roper was 10-for-15 passing for 115 yards, two touchdowns and the interception. Both TD passes went to McCallum, who finished with nine catches for 107 yards.
The Chiefs were still without injured quarterback Kendrick Furness, but Williams appeared to be returning to form in his second game back after an injury. He rushed 26 times for 176 yards and two scores.
Williams said before the game the he was about “85-90 percent” healed.
The Sharks, who finish the regular season next week against region winner Socastee, are likely to finish either third or fourth in the region and travel in the opening round of the playoffs.
Friday’s loss wiped out any chance North Myrtle Beach had of reaching the postseason. The Chiefs finish the season next week against Region VII-AAA runner-up Myrtle Beach.
STJ-Josh Roper 1 run (Connor Brown kick), 3:36
STJ-Brown 26 FG, 10:31
NMB-LaQuinn Bellamy 11 run (kick failed), 6:43
STJ-Roper 15 pass to Tre McCallum (Brown kick), 38.5
STJ-Roper 12 pass to McCallum (Brown kick), 7:15
NMB-Delonzo Williams 76 run (pass failed), 6:52
NMB-Williams 7 run (Kevin Mooney kick), 10:03