People wanted to see how Myrtle Beach responded.
There was no region title, and no real home-field advantage for the first time in Mickey Wilson’s four seasons as the team’s coach.
Consider Friday an indictment that the Seahawks are playoff-ready.
Wilson’s team opened the postseason with a convincing 43-13 win over Manning at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. It sets up the team’s second-round trip to Hanahan. But with this type of momentum, many may start to consider the Seahawks a favorite over another team with a stellar record.
“I felt like we were close,” Wilson said of his team’s readiness for the playoffs. “[Friday] was a good indication that they were ready to go. Offensively, we played well. Defensively, we played well. We’ve just got to continue down that path.
“I feel great about the game. … That’s a great first-round football win against a great football team.”
This Manning team that came into the game Friday was no slouch. The Monarchs were averaging a healthy 37 points per game and had lost its three regular-season games to very good teams.
However, Myrtle Beach stopped Manning in its tracks, even if the score was close in the first half.
In the second half, the Seahawks opened it up in all phases of the game. Manning’s lone points after halftime came via a Rochar Witherspoon 95-yard kickoff return. That wasn’t going to cut it, not the way Myrtle Beach’s stingy defense was playing.
The Seahawks picked off Manning quarterback Jason Baxter three times in the second half. They were also the recipients of a bad snap on a punt that gave them great field position.
Actually, though, everything Myrtle Beach did in the second half was little more than icing on the cake. Still, they continued to widen the gap.
Much of that had to do with senior Trell Harrell.
He had a 30-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, then put the game on ice with a 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He then busted a 41-yard non-scoring run on his second and last carry of the game.
“Every week, we come together as a team. Whatever we’ve got to do, we’ll do,” Harrell said. “If we have to go on the road for every playoff game, that’s what we’ll do.”
In the first half, Myrtle Beach took advantage of what could be its only home game of the postseason.
C.J. Cooper scored on a pair of short touchdown runs out of the team’s Rhino package, a pair of scores that pushed Myrtle Beach to a 17-7 lead.
“We made plays when we needed to,” Wilson said. “We left some points on the board in the first and second quarter, but that’s part of playoff football.”
Now, Myrtle Beach (10-1) will head to Hanahan (10-1) for the second round. The Hawks – 49-14 winners over Gilbert in the first round – suffered their only loss of the year to Class AA powerhouse Timberland.
And like Manning, Hanahan has another big-time offense; the Hawks have averaged better than 40 points per game so far this season.
Still, Myrtle Beach continued to show Friday it also has a pretty good team.
“Our guys are ready,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a great group of seniors. They’re enjoying this atmosphere and they’re enjoying playoff football. They’re ready to go.”
MB – Max Huggins 32 FG
MB – C.J. Cooper 3 run (Huggins kick)
M – Jason Baxter 1 run (Ni-Twann Hill kick)
MB – Cooper 1 run (Huggins kick)
MB – Trell Harrell 30 rec from Tyler Keane (Huggins kick)
MB – Huggins 25 FG
M – Rochar Witherspoon 95 kickoff return (Hill kick)
MB – Harrell 60 run (Huggins kick)
MB – Safety
MB – Dajour Wilson 5 run (Huggins kick)