It wasn’t easy, but Luke Doty and the Myrtle Beach Seahawks found a way to gut out a win over their rival in North Myrtle Beach, holding on to win 17-14.
With the win, No. 3 Myrtle Beach (7-0, 4-0 Region 6-4A) will host No. 1 Hartsville next week for the region championship, as the Red Foxes are also undefeated.
North Myrtle Beach (5-3, 1-3 Region 6-4A), gave Myrtle Beach all it could handle in the contest, but fell just short of the victory, pushing the Seahawks to the final minutes of the game.
“The biggest thing is that North Myrtle Beach played really well, it was good for us to not play well and get a win,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “That’s going to be huge moving forward. This year we’ve had the opportunity to be ahead in most of our games and to be in a close ballgame where we went back and forth a little bit with some adversity, we handled ourselves well.”
The adversity came after Myrtle Beach built a 17-0 lead midway through the third quarter. The Seahawks scored on a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, a pass from Doty to Marcus Grissett in the second, and a pass to Rayshad Feaster in the third to build the advantage.
For Doty, the offense wasn’t nearly as productive as he would like and he’s determined to put in the work to fix it this week.
“We really relied on our defense tonight, because we couldn’t really get in an offensive rhythm like we’re used to,” said the junior quarterback. “That shows us that we’ve got a lot to work on, a lot to improve before we get into the playoffs. There is a lot of time to get better.”
The Chiefs scored the game’s final 14 points, but had plenty of chances to take the lead late in the game, including a possession with just over 6 minutes left that ended in an interception, and another with just under 3 minutes remaining that ended in a turnover on downs.
“I love them to death. They fought their [butts] off, they fought so damn hard tonight and I’m so proud of my kids right now,” North Myrtle Beach coach Matt Reel said. “All we’ve heard is that (Myrtle Beach) is going to score 100 points and all of that. My guys just showed up and played, man. I’m so proud of them. We don’t go into weeks saying we’re gonna lose by 3 and be happy about it, but they fought so hard through adversity. It was a really good football game and, unfortunately, somebody had to lose.”
North Myrtle Beach’s Cason McClendon threw for 214 yards and a score and had quite a few narrow misses on long pass plays. In the final minutes, his efforts fell just short, but his coach saw no quit from his team’s leader.
“Our kids just show up and play. I don’t care if we’re playing the Dallas Cowboys or Myrtle Beach, they’re going to give it all they’ve got,” Reel said. “We just couldn’t make that play in the last 5 minutes of the game to get us over the hump.”
With the win, Myrtle Beach is in position to play what amounts to a region championship game against Hartsville. It’s a game that was supposed to be played in Week 6 but was pushed back due to Hurricane Florence.
“We’ve had a crazy year, we’ve missed a lot of time, had games moved up or moved back and everything else. For us to be in the position to compete for a region championship after all of that, I’m proud of our guys for grinding and making it happen,” Wilson said. “We know what kind of challenge this game will be, I just want our guys to be ready to face it come Friday.”
With a gutsy quarterback like Doty, Wilson likes his chances in any contest.
“The best thing tonight was how he stayed calm,” he said. “He was upbeat even when we had some adversity, when they stole the momentum with that blocked punt. He came over to me on the sidelines and was calm, cool, and collected, like a quarterback needs to be on the field. I’m proud of him for carrying the load for us on offense tonight.”
For North Myrtle Beach, Week 11 represents a win-and-you’re-in the playoffs scenario at home against Marlboro County.
MB – Chad Toone 33 FG
MB – Marcus Grissett 5 pass from Luke Doty (Toone kick)
MB – Rayshad Feaster 15 pass from Doty (Toone kick)
NMB – Garrett Perlstein 7 pass from Cason McClendon (Fisher Waggett kick)
NMB – Jordyn Gillings 4-yard blocked punt return (Waggett kick)