Shorthanded Braves shock Chiefs for inaugural victory

socfoot-36What makes Socastee’s 30-22 upset victory over North Myrtle Beach more surprising? A) The fact that the Braves were without head coach Doug Illing, who was serving a one-game suspension? B) the fact that his nephew, Hunter Illing, was making his first career start after Brandon Goswick went down with an injury just days before the game? Or C) the promotion of JV running back Nick Carnucci to replace injured starter Malachi McClendon on the depth chart?

Sorry, it’s D) all of the above, which Socastee had to overcome to earn its first victory of the season. Despite the odds and the breaks going against them, the Braves (1-4) turned in an inspired performance on the road to snap the Chiefs’ (3-2) three-game winning streak.

With his uncle missing the game, Illing put on a performance that would have made his coach proud. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown, and Carnucci ran for two TDs and two 2-point conversions in the second half to help the Braves put the game away.

The tight first half saw Socastee jump out first with a 5-yard TD run by Keyon Clora, but the PAT failed. North Myrtle Beach claimed its only lead of the game on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Ronnie Bass to Dequon Montgomery for a 7-6 halftime lead.

But Illing led the Braves on a TD drive on their first series of the second half, hitting Zach Cain for a 10-yard TD pass and Taylor Karnap for the 2-pointer for a 14-7 lead. Carnucci got into the act by recovering his own fumble in the endzone and adding the 2 for a 22-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

North Myrtle Beach’s defense capitalized on a rare Socastee mistake as Tyler Gore scooped and scored from 63 yards to cut the deficit to 22-14. But Socastee’s offense kept it rolling by driving deep in Chiefs’ territory, and Carnucci scored from 1-yard out and added the 2-point conversion for a 30-14 lead with 3:50 remaining.

North Myrtle Beach made a strong comeback bid late as Kered Class scored on a 25-yard run and Bass ran in the 2 to cut the deficit in half. The Chiefs successfully executed an onside kick and drove into the red zone before Bass’ fourth-down pass was broken up at the goal line with 49 seconds left and the Braves ran out the clock.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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