Myrtle Beach beats odds, Daniel to claim state title

mbfoot-statechampsConsider the South Carolina football world officially shocked.

Myrtle Beach High placekicker Sean Huggins booted a 22-yard field goal as time expired to give the Seahawks a thrilling 24-21 victory over Daniel in Saturday’s Class 3A state championship¬† game.

The Seahawks (11-4) celebrated their third state title in six seasons on a soggy Williams-Brice Stadium, and this one was the most unlikely of them all. The game fittingly ended the same way as their season – in unbelievable fashion.

After starting the season 1-3, the Seahawks won 10 of their last 11 games en route to the state championship game, where they defeated their third No. 1 seed of the postseason. Daniel (14-1) was ranked No. 1 in the state and favored to take the crown.

But the never-say-die Seahawks staged their third comeback win of the playoffs after trailing 14-7 late in the third quarter. Quarterback Drayton Arnold hit CJ Finkley with a 20-yard game-tying touchdown, and he later hooked up with tight end Graham Vaughn for the go-ahead score – the second time the two connected for a TD on the day.

Myrtle Beach’s defense had held All-State running back and Clemson commit Jalen Oglesby in check for most of the game – the lone exception being an 81-yard TD run earlier in the third quarter. But he got loose again with a long run deep into MB territory and teammate Austin Barnes tied it up at 21-all on a 5-yard run with 4 minutes remaining.

Arnold led the Seahawks on a game-winning 78-yard march that included key third-and-long completions that kept the drive alive. Kelton Greene made a diving grab at midfield on third-and-23 and Vaughn came up with a nice catch to the Daniel 12 on a third-and-10 with 44 seconds left. That allowed Myrtle Beach to line up Huggins for the game-winner and the celebration began.

Myrtle Beach led 7-0 early on a 21-yard toss from Arnold to Vaughn, but he threw a pick-six that allowed the Lions to even the score at halftime. Oglesby’s breakaway TD jaunt gave Daniel its first and only lead of the game as the Seahawks stormed back in what became their trademark in the playoffs – making plays in the clutch.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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