Braves rally to defeat Chiefs in showdown of unbeatens

Friday night’s battle of the unbeatens between Socastee and North Myrtle Beach lived up to its billing as the Braves escaped with a 38-28 victory over the host Chiefs.

Socastee scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback victory over the host Chiefs, who gave the reigning Region 7-3A champs all they could handle. North Myrtle Beach (5-1 overall, 0-1 region) built a 14-3 lead in the second quarter before the Braves (6-0, 1-0) rallied.

Socastee senior standout Hunter Renfrow led the comeback in all phases, scoring only one touchdown as quarterback but picking off a pair of passes in the fouth quarter to help preserve the win. He rushed for 244 yards on 23 carries and took some serious hits from the Chiefs defense but managed to lead his team to victory.

The Chiefs opened the game with a 10-play, 65-yard drive to set the tone. Quarterback Kendrick Furness hooked up with Cameron Gore for a 4-yard touchdown pass for an early 7-0 lead. Socastee answered with a 39-yard field goal by Matt Trimby, but the Chiefs again ran the ball down the Braves’ throats. This time Furness did it on the ground with a 6-yard TD run and a 14-3 lead.

Renfrow took matters into his own hands on the ensuing drive, keeping the option and carrying the Braves deep into NMB territory before handing off to Delano Walters for a 2-yard TD. The Braves blocked a NMB field goal attempt before halftime to go into the locker room trailing 14-10.

Two more special teams miscues by the Chiefs turned the game early in the second half. A muffed a punt deep in their own territory set the table for Socastee, and Renfrow made a weaving run through the Chiefs’ secondary for a 19-yard go-ahead touchdown to make it 17-14 in the third period. The Braves then blocked a punt in the end zone and Richard Cherry recovered to give Socastee a 24-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

But the Chiefs weren’t done and managed to mount a pair of long TD drives in the final period to make it close. Delonzo Williams broke loose for 49-yard TD run to cut it to 24-21, but the Braves responded and converted a key fourth-and-1 on a TD drive by Kyle Smith for 31-21 advantage with 6:54 remaining in the ballgame.

North Myrtle Beach refused to go away as Furness connected with Cameron Gore on a bomb to set up Williams’ second TD of the night on a dive from 2 yards out to cut the lead to 31-28. Williams finished the night with 238 yards on the ground and two TDs.

But the Chiefs’ onside kick attempt was unsuccessful and Renfrow worked his magic with the clock and the ground game, handing off to Walters for a late 12-yard TD. Renfrow ended NMB’s final two drives with interceptions to ice the win.

The Braves take on rival Myrtle Beach next week at home, while the Chiefs travel to Georgetown.

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