MYRTLE BEACH | Socastee’s high-powered offense wasn’t its normal self for most of Friday night.
Instead, the Braves chewed up the clock, and plenty of yards, en route to a 37-21 win over Myrtle Beach. In total, Socastee’s offense held the ball for all but 5:36 of the second half.
The Braves offense had the ball so long, Myrtle Beach was limited to an 80-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drayton Arnold and just 13 plays after halftime.
“It makes us dangerous because it didn’t give them the opportunity to score,” Socastee fullback Kyle Smith said. “That’s just one play. There’s a whole game, and it’s a battle. We didn’t let that one play bother us.”
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It was apparent the Braves were going to take advantage of that style immediately after the break. Socastee started the second half with a 13-play, 64-yard drive that ticked 7 minutes and 49 seconds off the clock.
It was capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Renfrow to Maxwell Kjosa. The next longest play in the series was a 9-yard run.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” Socastee first-year coach Doug Illing said. “We wanted to churn the clock, get three-and-a-half, four yards at a time.”
On top of preventing Myrtle Beach’s offense from getting chances keep up, it also ensured the Braves’ defense was rested. That showed in each of the Seahawks’ second-half possessions after that long touchdown strike.
Myrtle Beach turned it over on downs twice, in addition to a safety after Seahawk sophomore tailback Brandon Sinclair was unable to do anything with a bad snap out of his own end zone.
“Our defense bowed their neck there and smelled blood,” Illing said. “That, I thought, won the ball game right there.”
It sealed a Socastee victory that was anything but locked up prior to halftime.
Myrtle Beach opened as expected with a heavy dose of Sinclair. After five runs totaling 53 yards on the opening possession of the game, Arnold connected with Malik Waring on a 6-yard touchdown pass. Socastee fumbled the ball away on two of its first three possessions, allowing the Seahawks to lead 14-7 in the first quarter.
Renfrow’s huge second quarter, however, put the Braves on top for good. He had a 50-yard touchdown run and then a 40-yard scamper that eventually set up Smith’s second touchdown run.
Renfrow, this week named to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas roster, finished with 154 rushing yards and another 81 through the air. Tailback Delonzo Williams added 112 rushing yards and a touchdown and a receiving score, and Smith – closer to 100 percent after injuring his left foot – had 81 yards and those two touchdowns.
Sinclair had 96 yards, ending his streak of three straight 200-yard rushing performances.
As for the Braves, Socastee will head to Georgetown (4-3, 1-1) next week having won 19 straight regular-season games dating back to 2011 and 19 of its last 20 overall. Illing’s team will also move on having already defeated what many believed to be the top two threats to Socastee’s repeat as region champion.
“We felt good to begin with, before region started,” Smith said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, because we’re ahead of winning region.”
MB – Malik Waring 6 rec from Drayton Arnold (Sean Huggins kick)
SOC – Kyle Smith 1 run (Matt Trimby kick)
MB – Keyonte Sessions 35 rec from Arnold (Huggins kick)
SOC – Hunter Renfrow 50 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Smith 5 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Maxwell Kjosa 18 rec from Renfrow (Trimby kick)
SOC – Safety
SOC – Delano Walters 42 rec from Renfrow (Trimby kick)
RUSHING—MB – Arnold 11-17-1, 209. Soc – Renfrow 4-6-0, 81 yards.
RECEIVING—Malik Waring 2-25; Keyonte Sessions 2-41; C.J. Finkely 2-27; Graham Vaughn 2-22; D. Wilson 1-7; Kelton Greene 2-87. Soc – Walters 2-48; Maxwell Kjosa 1-18; Matt Trimby 1-15