Chiefs knock off Seahawks to capture 3A playoff berth

nmbfoot-3Senior Night. A huge rivalry. An undefeated regular season. No. 1-ranked Myrtle Beach had plenty of motivation for Friday night’s game against visiting North Myrtle Beach.

But the Chiefs had a bigger reason – a guaranteed spot in the Class 3A playoffs. North Myrtle Beach turned in a masterful defensive performance in holding the high-scoring Seahawks in check for a 14-11 upset win and the No. 2 seed in next week’s playoffs.

The Chiefs (4-6 overall, 3-2 Region 7-3A) held a 14-3 lead with less than 5 minutes remaining before the Seahawks (9-1, 4-1) finally got into the endzone on a 95 yard touchdown drive that was capped by Drayton Arnold’s 13-yard TD pass to Kyle Belack. The 2-point conversion pass to Malik Waring was good and Myrtle Beach was back in it.

The Chiefs recovered the Myrtle Beach onside kick. But, they were forced to punt a few plays later, and pinned the Seahawks deep again, this time on their own 4, with 1 minute remaining. Myrtle Beach managed to make it past midfield, but time expired and North Myrtle Beach erupted in celebration. A loss would have left the Chiefs at the mercy of the No. 4 seed pool, but instead they are playoff bound.

North Myrtle Beach also might have given playoff opponents a blue print for containing Myrtle Beach’s high-octane attack. The Chiefs dropped eight in coverage and rushed only three, still managing to get heavy pressure and also stop the run. Myrtle Beach standout tailback Brandon Sinclair was held in check and left with an apparent ankle injury.

The opening possession saw the Seahawks drive deep into Chiefs’ territory, but they had to settle for a Sean Huggins’ 32-yard field goal. The Seahawks did not score again until the final minutes, thanks to a pair of key defensive stands by the Chiefs. Freshman Tyler Gore made a leaping interception in the end zone to kill one drive.

The Chiefs got another standout performance by another youngster, sophomore running back Cullin Mitchell, who used some strong runs to help North Myrtle Beach keep the Myrtle Beach offense off the field. And sophomore quarterback Ronnie Bass made a pair of nice touchdown runs to account for all the scoring and a 14-3 lead early in the third quarter.

The Chiefs will host a first round matchup against Midland Valley. Myrtle Beach earns the No. 1 seed and will host Gilbert.

Photo by Digital Magic Photography

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