Mother Nature threw one last curveball at the North Myrtle Beach football team on Friday, as a lightning delay pushed the Chiefs’ kickoff against St. James by about an hour.
By the final horn, the Chiefs (3-0) would be celebrating a hard-fought 29-7 victory over an improving St. James (2-1) program, though nothing could match the pregame party atmosphere that came about during the weather delay.
“The kids had a big party going in the locker room,” said North Myrtle Beach coach Matt Reel. “They had a speaker going and a strobe light, we had to make them get off their feet before they used up all of their energy before the game even started.”
After Hurricane Dorian robbed most Grand Strand programs of their Week 2 games, both teams had some pent up aggression to get out on the field. North Myrtle Beach rode its rushing attack to garner a pair of first quarter touchdowns, pouncing on a scrappy Sharks squad early in the game.
“I thought we were pretty good offensively up until the last 10 minutes of the game,” Reel said. “We could’ve and should’ve done a better job of finishing things off. We’ve got to figure out how to finish people off, that’s the next step with our young guys.”
The young Chiefs were led by Ramsey Lewis, who accounted for three touchdowns, providing big plays with his arm and legs.
“He’s gotten a lot better. Our option stuff is not your prototypical under-center stuff like people think when they hear triple option. We are really trying to maximize the receivers and skill guys that we have and he’s done a good job of putting guys in space,” Reel said of Lewis. “He’s done a great job of reading his keys, making the right play and being aggressive when the opportunity is there.”
Lewis’ opportunities came by scoring three straight touchdowns in the game, a 15-yard run in the first quarter, a 52-yard pass in the second, and a 4-yard run in the third. Throw in the game’s first score, a Messiah Gore 1-yard rumble, and the Chiefs effectively smothered the Sharks.
“I thought we played awful hard; we just had a lot of opportunities that just stopped,” said St. James coach Tommy Norwood. “We moved the ball, at times, we didn’t move it every time, but it would go 30 yards down the field and 10 yards back. You can’t do that, they’ve got too much talent. We were just inconsistent.”
Norwood’s talk with his team after the game focused on wearing this loss and not making excuses for getting out-muscled.
“We’re not going to make a bunch of excuses; we’ll just roll up the britches legs and play,” he said. “If we can’t do it, we can’t do it, but it won’t be from a lack of effort on our part.”
The fruits of Norwood’s labor are becoming apparent to opponents, as Reel found out firsthand.
“St. James is one of those teams that always gives us issues, typically they just do everything very solid because they’re so well coached,” Reel said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes and really make you beat them. Tommy does a tremendous job; I can tell physically that these guys look a lot different since he’s taken over.”
As Norwood told his team, there are no moral victories in football. The Sharks will get back to work to face Georgetown on the road next week, while North Myrtle Beach will host Socastee.
SJ – 0 0 7 0 – 7
NMB – 13 6 7 3 – 29
NMB – Messiah Gore 1-yard run (Zane Smith kick good) 8:29
NMB – Ramsey Lewis 15-yard run (Kick failed) 2:34
NMB – Lewis 52-yard pass to Zyer Belle (2-point conversion failed) 9:26
NMB – Lewis 4-yard run (Smith kick good) 8:07
SJ – Ethan White 24-yard pass to Deondray Stanfield (Miles Herring kick good) 3:48
NMB – Smith 30-yard field goal 9:45
SJ – Ethan White 2-9-28-1-1
NMB – Ramsey Lewis 7-11-185-1-0
SJ – Deondray Stanfield 11-102
NMB – Ramsey Lewis 12-133 2TD
SJ – Deondray Stanfield 2-28 TD
NMB – Malik Livingston 3-78