Braves bulldoze Chiefs, turn focus to matchup with MB

In the matchup of the two most improved team on the Grand Strand, Socastee looked like no other team in school history while North Myrtle Beach looked like the same old Chiefs.

The Braves became the program’s first team to start the season with a 6-0 record with Friday night’s 45-14 victory over visiting North Myrtle Beach, which fell to 4-2 but played more like the team that entered the season with a 22-game losing streak. The Chiefs were playing without injured star running back Delonzo Williams, but it was mistakes that hurt them in this Region VII-AAA opener for both teams

After Socastee quarterback Hunter Renfrow set the tone by breaking a 73-yard touchdown run on the opening possession, North Myrtle Beach reverted back to some of the mistakes that have plagued the program in previous years. The Braves recovered a muffed punt deep in Chiefs’ territory and Renfrow ran it in from 8 yards out for an early 14-0 lead.

The miscues kept coming for the Chiefs, who shanked a punt out of the end zone and inexplicably watched as the ball rolled almost to a stop on the Chiefs’ 14. Eric Mortel scooped it up and scampered into the end zone for a touchdown, then the Chiefs fumbled the ensuing kickoff on the 1-yard line and Tommy Lazaroff ran it in on the next play for a 28-0 advantage.

After Socastee stretched its lead to 31-0 on Ryab Sutton’s 33-yard field goal, the Chiefs finally mounted a long scoring drive to show some signs of life. Kyle Cooper caught a 9-yard TD pass from Kendrick Furness to finally get on the scoreboard in the final seconds of the first half for a 31-6 deficit at the intermission.

North Myrtle Beach continued to show signs of the new and improved Chiefs in the second half, taking the opening drive the distance for a touchdown and 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 31-14. Brandon Moore ran in from 5 yards out for the touchdown and Furness hit a leaping Jalen Livingston in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion to make it a 31-14 lead.

But the Braves slammed the door on any comeback hopes with a long, time-consuming drive that was capped on a controversial play. Renfrow ran the option keeper for about 15 yards before making the pitch to Lazaroff that was close to being a forward lateral. Lazaroff took the pitch the rest of the way to the end zone for a combined 29-yard TD run and a 38-14 advantage.

Socastee intercepted Furness on the next possession and Renfrow scored from 13 yards out to put the game on ice. Renfrow, who finished with three rushing touchdowns and surpassed the 100-yard mark, leads the Braves up against also-unbeaten rival Myrtle Beach next week with first place in the region on the line.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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