Teams on Socastee’s schedule the rest of the way probably need to take notice.
It isn’t that the Braves improved to 4-0 for the second straight season with a 60-14 victory over Conway. It was that first-year coach Doug Illing’s team put up that kind of final score despite 11 penalties.
The result came two weeks after Socastee beat West Brunswick (N.C.) by two touchdowns after committing six turnovers. Needless to say, if the Braves figure out these self-inflicting wounds, there’s no telling what some of these final scores could start to look like.
“We put 60 on Conway just now, so we could be pretty dangerous,” senior tailback Delano Walters said. “Once we get our bye week and get into region, we’re gonna be clicking. We’re gonna show what’s up.”
It’s hard to argue the Braves didn’t do that Friday night, despite the miscues.
Socastee was flagged nine times for 60 yards in the opening half alone. But during that same span, the who’s who of the Braves’ 2013 rushing attack did its thing. Walters (160 rushing yards in the game) had 138 before halftime. Kyle Smith piled up 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns before half and finished with 102 yards and three touchdowns.
And quarterback Hunter Renfrow had 139 yards and three touchdowns for the game.
Because of that, this one wasn’t really in doubt after the first quarter.
“You can’t panic when you make mistakes,” first-year coach Doug Illing said. “We just try to talk about dealing with adversity in a positive way and deal with it. That’s what we’ve done. We haven’t dropped our head. We haven’t pouted. We haven’t pointed fingers.”
It may not have made a difference, but Conway’s own problems hurt the Tigers, especially in the first half when Socastee was putting some serious distance between itself and Chuck Jordan’s team.
Jordan was forced to suspend regular running backs Cortez Brown and DeAndre Hickman, two of the most productive players the team has relied upon so far this season. The coach said he wasn’t sure when the two would be back.
However, Conway (1-3) didn’t have the same rushing ability it did in defeating New Hanover (N.C.) two weeks ago. Promising Conway sophomore Martwain Bellamy got the start at running back, and the Tigers also utilize star sophomore receiver Bryan Edwards out of the Wildcat package.
It wasn’t enough.
The Tigers turned the ball over on a backward pass on their opening drive of the game. It led to Socastee’s second touchdown just 5 minutes after the opening kickoff. The Tigers then fumbled it away minutes into the second quarter as well.
On the ensuing drive, Illing’s offense was producing at such a rate that he had no issues going for it on a fourth-and-1 from his own 37. Seven plays after Walters picked up a first down, Socastee went up 25-0 on Renfrow’s 15-yard touchdown strike to the senior tailback.
“We’ve been steadily improving on defense,” Jordan said. “Like I told our kids, we took about three steps backward tonight. You have to give Socastee credit for that. They obviously out-executed us. But we never slowed them down.”
The only thing that did that on Friday was Socastee’s own issue with penalties.
Even that didn’t matter much.
S – Kyle Smith 28 run (Matt Trimby kick)
S – Hunter Renfrow 2 run (Renfrow run)
S – Trimby 36 FG
S – Delano Walters 15 rec from Renfrow (Trimby kick)
C – Ikeem Coles 26 rec from Ethan Smith (Bryan Edwards run)
S – Smith 1 run (Trimby kick)
S – Renfrow 11 run (Trimby kick)
S – Renfrow 15 run (Trimby kick)
C – Coles 60 rec from Smith (conv. failed)
S – Smith 5 run (Trimby kick)
S – Joe Smolenski block punt recovery (Trimby kick)