NMB rises to the occasion to defeat MB, move to 7-0

The No. 2-ranked North Myrtle Beach High football team picked a good time to make some school history Thursday night, defeating rival Myrtle Beach 24-19 in a thrilling Region 7-4A opener at the Hank Hester Sports Complex to move to 7-0 for the first time.

But the Seahawks (3-4 overall, 0-1 region) made the Chiefs (7-0, 1-0) sweat it out till the final minute. Driving for the potential go-ahead score, Myrtle Beach quarterback Lawson Cribb was picked off by North Myrtle Beach standout Tyler Gore for the second time on the night to secure the victory.

North Myrtle Beach led from start to finish but saw the Seahawks make a bold fourth-quarter comeback from a 24-6 deficit to create some late drama. Cribb hit Daron Finkley for a 20-yard touchdown pass on fourth and goal to cut the lead to 24-12, and Myrtle Beach recovered an onside kick to set up Cribb’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Grissett with 3:35 remaining.

The Seahawks opted to kick deep and pinned the Chiefs deep, but the combination of North Myrtle Beach quarterback Cason McClendon and Tyron Stockdale, who connected for three TD passes on the evening, came through again for a pair of clutch first downs. But the Chiefs fumbled the ball away with just under 2 minutes remaining and the Seahawks were in position to complete the rally until Gore’s big interception allowed the Chiefs to run out the clock and get the win.

The Seahawks were victimized by four turnovers, including the opening drive of the game that proved to be the first of five trips to the red zone that ended with Myrtle Beach coming away empty handed. The Chiefs quickly took advantage on their first play with a 91-yard bomb from McClendon to Stockdale, and North Myrtle Beach’s Zane Smith booted a 35-yard field to put the Chiefs up 10-0 early.

Myrtle Beach finally got on the scoreboard with a 34-yard TD pass from Cribb to Luke Doty. But the Chiefs responded with another McClendon-to-Stockdale hookup and North Myrtle Beach carried a 17-6 lead into halftime. The McClendon to Stockdale hat trick made it 24-6 with the Chiefs seemingly putting the Seahawks away. But Cribb’s late TD passes and a strong effort by Myrtle Beach in the final stages made it more interesting than expected in the big rivalry.

McClendon orchestrated the Chiefs’ offense by completing 12-of-15 passes for 296 yards and three scores – all to Stockdale, who had seven receptions for 220 yards.

Myrtle Beach made eight trips into the red zone and converted only three. The Seahawks had three first-and-goal situations in which they came away with a combined zero points. The Chiefs did a much better job of controlling the ball until a pair of late fumbles, but the defense was once again there to save the day.

North Myrtle Beach gets a well-deserved bye week after completing their first perfect start through seven weeks. The Seahawks play host to St. James next week.

Photo by Louis E. Keiner

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