Marlboro County ends Socastee’s playoff run

socfoot-renfrowfinalSocastee’s undefeated season and quest for a first-ever berth to Lower State Finals came to an end Friday night with a 40-25 loss to visiting Marlboro County.

The Braves (12-1) saw its season finish in the Lower State semifinals for the second straight year. This time it was the Bulldogs who handed Socastee its lone – and final – loss.

While many have wondered how the Braves’ triple-option attack could handle a comeback situation, it turned out to be Socastee’s inability to stop the pass that put them there.

Marlboro County quarterback London Johnson threw five touchdown passes – four of them the first half – and ran for another one in the second half as the Bulldogs scored TDs on five of their first six possessions.

Trailing 26-10 at the half thanks to two costly turnovers, Socastee tried an onside kick to open the second half but failed. Johnson capped the drive with a 7-yard TD run for a 33-10 lead.

The largest deficit of the season forced the Braves to go to the air, and they had some success behind senior quarterback Hunter Renfrow. His fourth-down pass to Kyle Smith set up Smith’s 2-yard TD run on the next play.

The Socastee defense finally stiffened and, following a shanked fake punt by the Bulldogs, the Braves took over deep into MC territory. Renfrow hit Walters for a 30-yard strike to the 2. Smith scored on the play and Renfrow added the 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 33-25 midway through the fourth quarter.

But the Braves were once again victimized by a familiar combo on the ensuing play. Johnson hit Raheem Ward for an 80-yard dagger – their third TD hookup of the night – and the Bulldogs finished off the Braves in the fourth. Socastee got within the MC 10 but turned the ball over for the third time.

Socastee came out hot, taking its first possession down field and scoring on a 17-yard counter by Walters. But Johnson went to the air for a pair of TDs to Ward. A pair of Socastee turnovers led to TDs by the Bulldogs for a 26-10 lead.

The Braves had back-to-back 12-1 seasons under two different coaches.

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