4A Wrapup: Chiefs capture title as Seahawks stumble

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Things couldn’t have gone much better for No. 6-ranked North Myrtle Beach on the field in Friday night’s 47-0 victory over visiting Wilson. They couldn’t have gone much better off the field either.

Shortly after shutting out the Tigers and making school history with nine regular season wins, the Chiefs (9-1 overall, 3-1 Region 7-4A) also got some help from Marlboro County to claim the top seed in a three-way tiebreaker. Marlboro County upset No. 2-ranked Myrtle Beach in a 56-55 thriller, spoiling the Seahawks’ bid for a perfect season and the outright region title.

The North Myrtle Beach was near-perfect in beating the Tigers, as quarterback Ronnie Bass Jr. threw four touchdown passes and the defense pitched a shutout. Special teams even got into the act to score the Chiefs’ first points on a punt return for a touchdown by Xavier Clarida, and they never looked back.

But the Chiefs did tune in to see what was happening in Bennettsville, where Myrtle Beach backup kicker Austin Riggs misfired on a 31-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds to come out on the short end of a wild game. The Seahawks are ranked No. 2 in the state but will have to settle for the No. 3 playoff seed and go on the road in the first round next week.

In a game that saw nine lead changes and three ties, Marlboro County scored a late touchdown and went for 2 instead of the tie, running a successful fake PAT for the late lead. Myrtle Beach drove into field goal range with 32 seconds left but were unable to convert. The loss forced a three-way tie atop the region standings, with NMB getting the edge on defensive-points allowed and Marlboro County taking the No. 2 seed via the head-to-head win over Myrtle Beach.

Keyonte Sessions scored five touchdowns, with the last one coming with 4 minutes left and giving the Seahawks a 55-48 edge. Will Vereen caught two touchdown passes from lawson Cribb, and he set up a couple of more with big catches down the stretch.

North Myrtle Beach will play host to Dreher in the first-round next Friday. Myrtle Beach travels to AC Flora.

Photo by Louis E. Keiner and Lesley M. Etherson

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