Seahawks leash Bulldogs, advance to state title game

mbfoot-sackmcThe Myrtle Beach High football team saved its best football game of the season for its biggest, beating visiting Marlboro County 20-6 in Friday night’s Class 3A Lower State Final.

The Seahawks (10-4) got a balanced offensive performance, shut down the Bulldogs’ (11-3) air-raid attack and made some key plays on special teams to advance to their fourth state title game in six years. Myrtle Beach will face Daniel next Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium for the Class 3A title.

Billed as a shootout between two high-powered offenses, the Myrtle Beach defense stole the show by shutting down the pass-happy Bulldogs for most of the game. Quarterback Drayton Arnold threw two touchdown passes and running back Brandon Sinclair rushed for 138 yards, but it was the defense that propelled the Seahawks to victory in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 6,500.

Myrtle Beach’s Jaden Grayer picked off a London Johnson pass on the opening possession, then the Seahawks forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs. That set up the first score of the game in the second quarter on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Drayton Arnold to Kelton Greene.

The Seahawks defense then made perhaps the play of the game by forcing a Fred David fumble just shy of the goal line following a long run. That set up a long drive that was capped by Sean Huggins’ 29-yard field goal for a 10-0 halftime lead.

Myrtle Beach’s special teams and defense teamed up for the next score after punter Arly Barr pinned the Bulldogs deep in their own territory and the defense stopped David in the end zone for a safety and a 12-0 lead. That gave the Seahawks good field position before they committed their first turnover of the night.

The Bulldogs finally got things going late in the third period. On a third-and-long, Johnson hit receiver Raheem Ward for a first down, but he made a nice move and sprinted 91 yards for Marlboro County’s first score of the game. The Bulldogs missed the PAT but cut the deficit in half at 12-6.

Marlboro County forced a fumble and was threatening to score the game-tying touchdown when freshman Keyonte Sessions made another huge defensive play. A scrambling Johnson lobbed the ball out of bounds in the end zone to avoid a sack by Sessions made a diving grab and kept a foot in bounds to force the touchback.

The Seahawks opened the fourth quarter with a long TD drive that put the game away. Arnold threw a 5-yard TD fade to Malik Waring in the corner of the end zone and Sinclair added the 2-point conversion run to make it 20-6. Greene then came up with a big interception to kill a Bulldog drive, and the Seahawks sacked Johnson twice on the final series to preserve the win.

Adding to the surprise trip to the state championship game is the slow start to the season for the Seahawks, particularly the defense, which yielded 63 points and over 500 yards in the opener against Richmond County (NC). Myrtle Beach was 1-3 following a 41-35 loss to Carolina Forest, the Panthers’ lone win of the season, but the Seahawks have won nine of their last 10 to reach the Class 3A title game.

The Seahawks will face Daniel Saturday in Columbia. Daniel (15-0) defeated Chapman tonight 29-27.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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One response to “Seahawks leash Bulldogs, advance to state title game”

  1. T28 says:

    yes sir!!!!!!!! The Hawks are flying High

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