Playoffs Previews & Picks: Chiefs, Tigers look in mirror

nmbfoot-sackWhen the North Myrtle Beach High football team lines up against visiting Cane Bay in Friday night’s second round of the Class 4A state playoffs, the Chiefs might see their own reflection staring back across the line of scrimmage.

The comparisons go beyond their identical 10-win seasons, which are school records for both programs. The two teams have also written impressive rags-to-riches stories in recent years to get where they are today.

North Myrtle Beach suffered through back-to-back winless seasons in 2011 and 2012, amassing a 22-game losing streak. The Cobras went 0-for-season as recently as 2013 before putting together a similarly strong turnaround.

Both teams are prone to put up some points. The Cobras are averaging 40 points per game, as are the Chiefs. Cane Bay posted a school record 64 points on an opponent this season, as did the Chiefs. The Cobras are ranked No. 7 in the state; the Chiefs are No. 6.

The similarities stop at North Myrtle Beach’s surprise dismissals of three star players last week. The Chiefs were able to rise to the occasion in last week’s 40-14 win over Dreher, but Cane Bay represents a bigger challenge. The Cobras took down Crestwood 44-31 last week and are hungry to advance to the third round, which would match another school record for North Myrtle Beach. Look for the Chiefs to rise to the challenge. … North Myrtle Beach 27, Cane Bay 24.

* Spring Valley at Conway: The Tigers (7-4) also face a foe on a similar roll in the Vikings in Friday night’s second round showdown at The Backyard. The Tigers are firing on all cylinders at the right time, winning their fourth straight game in last Friday’s 36-33 victory over Goose Creek in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Spring Valley (8-3) also has put together four straight wins, including a 55-18 drubbing of West Ashley in last week’s playoff opener. The lone common opponent is Sumter, which beat the Vikings 36-22 and edged the Tigers 38-31 in triple overtime.

This could be a shootout in the truest sense of the term, especially with Conway quarterback Peyton Derrick getting it done on the ground and through the air over the last month of the season. The Tigers score last and most. … Conway 38, Spring Valley 35.

Last week 2-2, Overall 40-17

Louis E. Keiner and Lesley M. Etherson

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