High School Football

Myrtle Beach Seahawks take to ground, advance in football playoffs

The normally high-flying Seahawks used a potent running game to beat Midland Valley 38-7 on Friday night.

But regardless of their mode of transportation, the defending state champions advanced to the third round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Myrtle Beach scored five rushing touchdowns and none through the air for the first time this season, but the Seahawks didn't seem to mind switching from flying the friendly skies to pounding the ground as long as they reached their usual destination - the end zone.

Option quarterback Morgan Byrd rushed for 102 yards and three TDs while passing QB Everett Golson and running back Daiquone Ford also ran in for scores. Golson still had a strong night, completing 16 of 25 for 256 yards, but failed to add to his 36 passing TDs.

"It was different, but a touchdown is a touchdown, no matter how we score it," said Byrd, who dived in from 1 yard out on all three rushing TDs out of the "Wild Hawk" offense. ``It's always nice to have holes to run through and for our offense to be two-dimensional."

Golson had about five passes dropped by his receivers on the night but did manage to move the Seahawks deep into Mustangs' territory through the air. But with Midland Valley trying to confuse him with mixed coverages, the seas parted for the running game.

"They only had one linebacker in the box so we took what they gave us," said Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson, who designed the Seahawks' spread attack. "The offensive line did a great job. They don't get the publicity as the [skill players] but they earned it tonight."

The Seahawks (11-1) got a bit of a wake-up call on the opening possession when the Mustangs (9-3) marched 65 yards in six plays, all on the ground, for a quick 7-0 lead. The Seahawks calmly answered with a five-play TD drive of their own, capped by Byrd, to tie it up just two minutes into the game. Myrtle Beach allowed Midland Valley only 94 yards the rest of the night while its offense kept rolling.

Scrambling to find an open receiver, Golson tucked the ball in and broke several tackles on the way to a 21-yard TD score. The Seahawks managed the clock wisely and Byrd scored with just 1:30 left in the second quarter to take a 21-7 lead into the locker room.

Myrtle Beach scored on its first possession of the second half when Byrd plunged into the end zone for the third time of the night and Ford, who had 70 yards on 12 carries and 59 yards on two receptions, scored from 9 yards out late in the third. Jordan Butler added a 25-yard field goal in the fourth to conclude the scoring.

The Seahawks finished the night with 476 yards, almost triple the Mustangs' total of 159, and the defense tallied two interceptions and a fumble return that either ended Midland Valley drives or set up the Seahawks offense.

"We moved the ball well through the air and on the ground," said Byrd, who has seven touchdowns in two playoff games. "I was just lucky to be the one that punched the ball in."

Myrtle Beach will face North Charleston next week at Doug Shaw Stadium for the right to play in the Lower State Finals.