For the second straight year, a magical season for North Myrtle Beach hit a dead end in the third round of the playoffs.
As has been its modus operandi all year, a slow-starting Berkeley squad gained its footing in the second and rode that wave to a 34-17 win.
North Myrtle Beach took a 17-14 lead on its first possession of the second half on a T.J. Gore 6-yard run. But the Stags answered shortly after, going 80 yards in nine plays with Keshawn Wicks’ 19-yard run capping off the drive.
Though able to point to a litany of things that went wrong, North Myrtle Beach football coach Matt Reel could only think about the opportunities his team missed.
“It’s one thing to lose, but it hurts more because I feel we didn’t play our best game,” he said. “That’s not to say we would have won, Berkeley is a good team. Tonight just wasn’t our best showing.”
North Myrtle Beach also was without one of its horses, as senior running back Kered Class was out due to a hamstring injury. In his stead, Gore rushed for a season-high 139 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.
As for Berkeley, it advances to the Lower State final round for the first time since 2009. According to coach Randy Robinson, the Stags simply stuck to their game plan.
“We did what we do,” he said. “If they put to many in the box, we’ll throw it. As the game wore on, we had them guessing and we had success passing and running.”
After North Myrtle Beach took a 17-14 lead on T.J. Gore’s 6-yard touchdown run, Berkeley answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped by Keshawn Wicks’ 19-yard scoring run.
Keshawn Wicks, Berkeley: Rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown for the Stags in a winning effort.
T.J. Gore, North Myrtle Beach: Rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown in his final high school game.
Tyron Stockdale, North Myrtle Beach: Caught nine passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Eric Tuttle, Berkeley: Completed 14 of 19 pases for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
By the numbers
Turnovers by North Myrtle Beach in the game.
After getting a 10-point head start, the Chiefs only scored seven points in the game’s final three quarters.
North Myrtle Beach wins during the 2017 season, a program record.
They said it
“We had some good things called, and we made it work all year. We hit it all year, and we were able to get ourselves out of situations and make big plays. Tonight, we just couldn’t make the big plays when we wanted to.” — North Myrtle Beach football coach Matt Reel
“A week from now we’ll feel better about it than we do now. But I don’t ever want to take anything from those guys and what they’ve accomplished and experienced this year.” — Reel
“I’m just glad we’re playing on Thanksgiving weekend … it doesn’t matter who you’re playing.” — Berkeley football coach Randy Robinson
NMB — Zane Smith 35 kick
NMB — Cason McClendon 15 pass to Tyron Stockdale (Smith kick)
BHS — Eric Tuttle 55 pass to Dervon Pesnell (Taete McMurry kick)
BHS — Tuttle 21 pass to D.J. Chisholm (McMurry kick)
NMB — T.J. Gore 5 run (Smith kick)
BHS — Keshawn Wicks 18 run (kick failed)
BHS — Tyriek Cooper 26 run (McMurry kick)
BHS — Tuttle 2 run (McMurry kick)
Rushing: NMB — T.J. Gore 18-139, Ramsey Lewis 5-28; BHS — Keshawn Wicks 29-166.
Passing: NMB — Cason McClendon 13-31-2, 248 yards; BHS — 14-19-1, 195 yards.
Receiving: NMB — Tyron Stockdale 9-151, Tyler Gore 3-87; BHS — Dervon Pesnell 5-120, D.J. Chisholm 8-72.