By the time Myrtle Beach seemed to do enough right to possibly make some headway, it was too late.
Playing a freshman third-string quarterback and with Marlboro County rushing the ball for more yards than any opponent in recent memory, the Seahawks were knocked out of the playoffs on Friday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs’ 42-17 third-round win ended Myrtle Beach’s season at 11-2, denying Mickey Wilson’s team from repeating its 2013 Class AAA state championship.
“We had tough circumstances. But there were times when we didn’t play well,” Wilson said. “I was proud of our kids. It was a tough situation to be in. But I don’t think we played particularly well. It makes it worse when you have some injuries.”
Those certainly dictated the Seahawks’ postseason, and eventually helped end it.
Senior Jake Deskins, one week after throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns in a second-round win over Hanahan, was officially ruled out earlier in the day after suffering a thumb injury in the final moments of practice on Wednesday. He was already subbing in standout quarterback Drayton Arnold, who suffered a thumb injury of his own in the playoff opener against Gilbert.
That left the team relying on lightly used freshman Lawson Cribb. He entered the game having thrown just 16 passes at the varsity level, with all of those coming in closing moments of lopsided victories.
“We figured that out right before the game,” Marlboro County coach Dean Boyd said. “We felt like we got to to bring pressure.”
Cribb was sacked six times, including four when the game was still in question. The Bulldogs also picked off Cribb three times and added a pair of first-quarter fumbles that helped them jump out to a 14-0 lead and go into the half leading 28-10.
Myrtle Beach also used senior receiver Kyle Belack out of the wildcat formation; still, Marlboro County was able to load the line of scrimmage.
“We’re very limited in what we could do with Lawson. It made it tough,” Wilson said, pointing out the player’s age. “It was a tough night to be on the offensive side of the ball. But that’s what makes football great. You’re going to have injuries. You’re going to have situations where this happens.”
The Seahawks’ quarterback woes also didn’t help Myrtle Beach keep up with this type of ground performance from Marlboro County. The Bulldogs had three tailbacks – A.J. McClean, Dylven Covington and Dwayne Smith – each run for two scores while eclipsing the 100-yard mark.
Considering Wilson remarked earlier in the week how he was preparing to face a team that rarely had anyone by North-South quarterback London Johnson in the backfield, it’s safe to assume the Seahawks weren’t expecting Marlboro County to rush for 428 yards.
Neither did Boyd.
“We hadn’t done that all season long,” Boyd said. “We haven’t run the football like that. The running backs we had in [Friday] were linebackers. … They looked like running backs tonight, didn’t they?”
Boyd added that getting past Myrtle Beach in the playoffs for the first time in four chances was “A big ol’ gorilla off my back.”
Marlboro County will move on to the Class AAA Lower State finals for the second straight year. This time, the Bulldogs will be taking on regular Region VI-AAA opponent Hartsville, an undefeated team ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.
Boyd’s squad will have a renewed sense of optimism, having just overwhelmed the defending state champs on both sides of the ball.
“We’re built to be an explosive offense,” Wilson said. “It’s tough to be explosive when we’ve got some quarterbacks out. Lawson did a good job. We put him in a bad situation. But if we don’t score points and we’re not explosive, it puts a lot of pressure on our defense.”• Winner X, loser X | writeup will go here
MC - Dylven Covington 8 run (Nick Rogers kick)
MC - Dylven Covington 8 run (Rogers kick)
MB - Sean Huggins 26 FG
MC - A.J. McClean 13 run (Rogers kick)
MC - McClean 1 run (Rogers kick)
MB - Malik Waring 10 rec from Lawson Cribb (Huggins kick)
MC - Dwayne Smith 21 run (Rogers kick)
MC - Smith 31 run (Rogers kick)
MB - Kelton Greene 1 run (Huggins kick)• RUSHING: MC: Dylven Covington 13-118; A.J. McClean 11-112; Dwayne Smith 12-161. MB: Brandon Sinclair 14-54; Kyle Belack 4-22.
• PASSING: MC: London Johnson 4-9-1, 24 yards. MB: Lawson Cribb 8-21-3, 78 yards.
• RECEIVING: MC: Alonte Littles 3-31. MB: Kelton Greene 3-65; Malik Waring 2-22; Sinclair 2-15.