One game into the 2017 high school football season, a silver lining for Myrtle Beach is that it won’t have to face a Reggie Shaw-coached program for the foreseeable future.
After being upset in the opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs by Shaw’s A.C. Flora team a year ago, the Seahawks opened this season at Shaw’s new team, Byrnes, Saturday night at Nixon Field.
While last year’s season-ending loss was heartbreaking for a Myrtle Beach team that began the season 9-0 and was ranked No. 2 entering the postseason, Saturday was more gut-wrenching. The Rebels jumped out to a 30-0 first-half lead and went on to a 51-0 win.
“We didn’t play well tonight. We didn’t execute well. We didn’t take care of the football well,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “I still really, really like this football team. I think we’ve got a chance to be a good football team, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
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It was quite a turnaround from last year’s season opener when Myrtle Beach defeated Byrnes 35-19 at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.
When Byrnes sophomore running back Rahjai Harris ended back-to-back drives with touchdown runs of 43 and 38 yards, respectively, the Rebels led 20-0 just 37 seconds into the second quarter. At that point, the Seahawks appeared as shell-shocked as Byrnes did in last year’s game when it fell behind 28-0 less than 30 seconds into that second quarter.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys with a lot of inexperience, but even though it’s early, it’s time to grow up. We’ve got to grow up in a hurry,” Wilson said. “We played a great football team tonight. My hat’s off to Byrnes. Hopefully it will be a great learning experience for us moving forward.”
Myrtle Beach had one of its best chances at scoring on its second possession of the game. After stopping Byrnes short on fourth-and-2 near midfield, the Seahawks went for it on fourth-and-1 at Byrnes’ 37-yard line. A low snap got away from Jermani Green who was dropped for a 3-yard loss.
Five plays later, Byrnes went for it on fourth-and-2 and Brock Carroll hit Ben Henson on a 32-yard touchdown pass and the Rebels never looked back.
Following Harris’ two touchdowns, Byrnes’ Clayton Crile extended the lead to 23-0 on a 39-yard field goal with 1:16 left in the first half. The Rebels’ kickoff team, which routinely forced Myrtle Beach to start deep in its own territory, then recovered a fumble on a pooch kick.
On the next play, Byrnes’ flea-flicker turned into a 26-yard scoring strike from Carroll to Braylin Johnson staking the Rebels to a 30-0 lead at the break.
Byrnes removed all doubt on the opening drive of the second half, when it marched 80 yards on a 10 plays. It was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Quez Mayes.
The Rebels finished with a 451-189 advantage in total yards and had no turnovers, while forcing four. Carroll, who completed seven of his first nine passes to six different receivers, finished with 191 yards on 18-of-28 passing. A total of 10 different Rebels caught passes. Harris rushed for 139 yards on just eight carries.
“Our guys felt like they had something to prove after last year (3-7 season),” Shaw said. “We didn’t have to say a whole lot to get them fired up to play this game.”
Myrtle Beach’s best chance to score came early in the fourth quarter when it drove to Byrnes’ 5-yard line. But on the 16th play of the drive, Lawson Cribb’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Cribb completed 19-of-37 passes for 145 yards. Luke Doty led the Seahawks with six catches for 58 yards.