A classic line in “coach-speak” is to say your team has to win on all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – to come up victorious. On Friday, North Myrtle Beach needed each unit to pull away from West Brunswick (N.C.), riding a strong third quarter to a 35-10 victory.
The first half was a slugfest, as North Myrtle Beach (3-0) and West Brunswick (1-2) played to a scoreless first quarter and only a touchdown on a Ramsey Lewis run put the Chiefs ahead going into halftime. North Myrtle Beach coach Matt Reel said his team was ready for a fight in the game, but was surprised by the lack of execution coming off a strong week of practice.
“At halftime, I was just like I am right now – everything was there for us, we just weren’t executing,” he said following his team’s win. “Everything we called was right there, if we play better up front and don’t drop balls, that first half looks a lot different. If you turn the ball over three times, I don’t care who you’re playing or what the point spread is, you’re going to be in a tight game.”
In the first half, the Chiefs lost a fumble on a bad snap and quarterback Cason McClendon threw two interceptions that were in-and-out of the hands of his intended target. He finished the game strong, completing 11-14 for 130 yards.
The standout performances for North Myrtle Beach came from running back Ramsey Lewis and the entirety of the Chief defense. Lewis carried the ball 17 times for 106 yards and two scores. The Chief defense held West Brunswick to 135 yards on the night and scored as many touchdowns as it gave up.
“We challenged our guys all week that they had to step up and stop their running game. A couple of weeks ago they ran for over 400 yards, that’s what they do,” Reel said of West Brunswick. “They’re going to try and force their will on you and punish you and they do a good job of doing that. Our focus this week was trying to take away the things they do well and make them beat us doing something they don’t want to do in throwing the football.”
West Brunswick’s Jay Fletcher completed just two passes on the night for 39 yards, with much of that coming on the final drive of the game.
For the Trojans, playing against North Myrtle Beach offered a measuring stick for where there program hopes to be in a few years under coach Brett Hickman.
“…The biggest factor in tonight’s game was how far ahead they are as a program and in the weight room. They do it the right way, Matt and his staff have a great culture here,” he said. “West Brunswick seems to keep getting in West Brunswick’s way out there, you can’t give a team extra possessions and have the dam break on you.”
If the dam broke on West Brunswick, it happened in the third quarter, when North Myrtle Beach scored three touchdowns in five minutes of game action on a Zyon Belle 95-yard kickoff return, a Jordyn Gillings fumble recovery and a 32-yard run by Belle. The effort of the two units was critical to the success of the team against West Brunswick, said senior defensive lineman Marcelous Livingston.
“I need to see my defensive teammates doing everything that the coaches ask of them on every play. We can’t take a play off and let (the offense) get a big play on us,” he said. “When our offense is struggling, we pick them up. When we aren’t doing good, they pick us up. We have to be there for our brothers on the team.”
Two scores in the fourth quarter, one by each team, would round out the score at 35-10. Lewis scored his second rushing touchdown for North Myrtle Beach in the quarter, while Dante Williams would score West Brunswick’s lone touchdown late in the game.
Next week, North Myrtle Beach will travel to take on St. James, while West Brunswick will play Lumberton (N.C.) at home.
NMB – Ramsey Lewis 7-yard run (Zane Smith kick good) 4:32
WB – Lauch Murphy 43-yard field goal 8:57
NMB – Zyon Belle 95-yard kickoff return (Smith kick) 8:37
NMB – Jordyn Gillings 5-yard fumble recovery (Smith kick) 7:04
NMB – Zyon Belle 32-yard run (Smith kick) 3:47
NMB – Lewis 3-yard run (Smith kick) 11:53
WB – Dante Williams 3-yard run (Murphy kick good) 00:08
Rushing: WB – Austin Simmons 24-111. NMB – Ramsey Lewis 17-106 2TDs.
Passing: WB – Jay Fletcher 2-7-39-0-0. NMB – Cason McClendon 11-14-130-0-2.
Receiving: WB – Nashawn Price 2-39. NMB – Naseem Harrison 5-54.