Myrtle Beach hasn’t had to rely on its defense and special teams for many wins in recent years, but that was the case Friday night at Thomas L. Smith Stadium.
The defense pitched a shutout, and the Seahawks forced five turnovers, recorded a pair of safeties and recovered a fumbled punt at the Georgetown 6-yard line to set up a touchdown to claim an 18-0 win in a battle for second place in Region VII-AAA.
“I thought our defense played tremendous tonight,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “Those guys did a great job and forced a lot of turnovers. I thought at times tonight we were dominant on defense, and in the special teams we played great. We just have some work to do on offense for sure.”
Myrtle Beach (8-1) improved to 3-1 in the region to remain a game behind undefeated Socastee, while Georgetown (5-3) fell to 2-2 in the region.
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Myrtle Beach had one sustained drive in the game, and used it to salt the victory away in the fourth quarter. C.J. Cooper finished a 13-play, 79-yard drive with a 2-yard run to cap the scoring with 7 minutes to play.
“We didn’t play a very good football game in the special teams area at all, and we had way too many turnovers obviously to beat a very good football team,” Georgetown coach Bradley Adams said. “Our defense played their butts off tonight. If we continue to play defense like that and not create the same mistakes we had tonight, we’ll be okay.”
Special teams helped the Seahawks take a 9-0 lead in the first quarter.
Jack Montgomery blocked a Bulldogs punt near the goal line and the ball rolled through the back of the end zone for a safety after a Max Huggins punt was downed at the Georgetown 3. A fumbled Myrtle Beach punt at the Georgetown 6 four plays later led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Cooper.
Georgetown also fumbled another punt in its own territory in the second quarter, and gave the Seahawks a first down on a punt attempt with an offside penalty on a fourth-and-five in the first quarter, but the Seahawks couldn’t take advantage of either break.
Myrtle Beach recorded its second safety when Cordell Brown rushed untouched and sacked Georgetown quarterback Caleb Hughes in the end zone with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Seahawks senior Sean Michael Orcutt created a pair of turnovers in the span of four plays in the fourth quarter to help Myrtle Beach preserve the shutout. He intercepted a Hughes pass over the middle with 7 minutes remaining, and three plays after Tyler Keane fumbled for the Seahawks, he forced a Michael Billings fumble at the Seahawks 10-yard line.
“That’s part of helping the team do whatever we can to get a win,” said Orcutt, who is playing with a cast protecting a broken middle finger on his right hand. The cast is scheduled to come off this week. “… Everybody on the team has a job, and if they do it we’ll come out with a win.”
A fumbled shotgun snap late in the game accounted for Georgetown’s fifth turnover.
Playing without two of its top offensive weapons, Georgetown was held without a first down in the first half and finished with seven first downs, 91 yards passing and just 44 yards rushing on 21 carries. Running back Julian Lunsford and receiver Alvin Walker sat out the game, reportedly as a precaution for concussion symptoms.
The Seahawks ran 32 more offensive plays, aided by winning the turnover margin 5-2, and gained 178 yards on the ground on 42 rushing attempts, led by Dajour Wilson’s 104 yards on 15 carries. The Seahawks did fumble twice, however, and Keane was 16 of 30 for 142 yards.
“I thought we ran the ball really well tonight, which is a little bit unusual for us, but we didn’t hold onto it and fumbled here and there and had some holding penalties,” coach Wilson said. “We’ve got to get better on offense. We knew that going into this season. We’ve taken some steps forward and taken some steps back, we’ve got to continue to fight and try to take steps forward.”
Another region title is not possible, so the Seahawks still have a first-round home playoff game and other goals to continue striving for. “Not winning the region is one thing, but our ultimate goal is winning a championship, so from here on out we’re trying to get ready for the championship,” Orcutt said.
The Bulldogs travel to Wilson next week with an opportunity to capture the guaranteed third playoff spot from the region. “We’ve got to win this football game to get the No. 3 seed and the kids are going to come to work and we’ll come to work as coaches to do the best we can to win it,” Adams said.
MB-Safety: Jack Montgomery blocked punt in end zone
MB-C.J. Cooper 3 run (Max Huggins kick)
MB-Safety: Cordell Brown sacks Caleb Hughes in end zone
MB-Cooper 2 run (Huggins kick)
RUSHING—Myrtle Beach: Dajour Wilson 15-104, Trell Harrell 4-33, Brandon Sinclair 8-31, C.J. Cooper 9-24, Tyler Keane 6-(-14). Georgetown: Michael Billings 13-39, Jordan Ward 3-14, Caleb Hughes 4-(-2), Team 1-(-7).
PASSING—Myrtle Beach: Keane 16-30-0--142. Georgetown: Hughes 10-19-1--91.
RECEIVING—Myrtle Beach: Harrell 5-66, Cooper 4-41, Wilson 3-17, Sinclair 3-4, Renard Pointer 1-14. Georgetown: Dae’Quan Gibson 3-24, Cannon Ballard 2-37, Tarik Tucker 2-1, Ward 1-14, Billings 1-11, Chris Gamble 1-4.