Braves defense delivers key safety to hold off Seahawks

In a game that was billed as a battle of offenses, Friday night’s showdown between Socastee and Myrtle Beach came down to defense.

With the Seahawks (3-4 overall, 1-1 region) looking to drive for a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Braves’ defense delivered a safety to make it a two-possession game and added an insurance touchdown for a 37-21 victory. It was Socastee’s second straight win over its rival and kept it unbeaten on the year at 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the region.

This one turned out to be closer than expected for three quarters as the Seahawks took their best shot at the No. 4-ranked team in Class 3A. But Socastee senior quarterback Hunter Renfrow proved too much for the Myrtle Beach defense. Renfrow rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown and threw two TD passes in the win.

The Seahawks drew first blood on their opening drive of the game, capped by a Drayton Arnold to Kelton Greene touchdown pass from 7 yards out. But the Braves responded with a long TD drive as Kyle Smith pounded it in from 1 yard out to tie it up at 7-all.

Myrtle Beach jumped back out front on a 35-yard TD pass from Arnold to freshman Keyonte Sessions, but Renfrow broke free for a 49-yard TD run to level it at 14-all. That’s when things got crazy and Socastee stole the momentum.

Socastee’s Buck Bacot ran close to the goalline and was marked short, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing the call pushed the Braves back to the 16. The officials mistakenly kept third down on the board, and Socastee wound up kicking a field goal on what should have been fifth down.

However, the Seahawks also were hit with an unsportsmanlike flag and the Braves wiped the 3 points off the board. Smith ran it in from 5 yards out on the next play as the Braves took their first lead at 21-14 into the locker room.

The Braves took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched the length of the field on a time-consuming drive that was capped by Renfrow’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Max Joesph for a 28-14 lead. But the Seahawks struck quickly with an 80-yard TD pass from Arnold to Greene to cut the deficit in half.

Myrtle Beach appeared to seize some momentum when the defense stopped Socastee on a fourth-and-goal from the 2, but Sinclair dropped the WildHawk snap and was unable to get out of the end zone before being brought down for a safety. After Socastee’s defense stopped Myrtle Beach on a fourth down, Renfrow put the game on ice with a 42-yard TD strike to Delano Walters for a 37-21 advantage.

The Braves ran out the clock to put the finishing touches on the victory. Socastee travels to Georgetown next week while Myrtle Beach plays host to St. James.

Photo by Nancy Thompson

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