Chiefs finally get on scoreboard, but not win column

The North Myrtle Beach offense finally scored its first points of the season and the defense has played well all year.

But in Friday night’s 28-18 loss at West Brunswick (N.C.), it was special teams that proved to be the Chiefs’ undoing.

From blocked extra point kicks, to blocked punts, to long snaps that did not quite make it to their intended target, the Chiefs’ special teams gave up points and field position to the Trojans throughout the night.

“We have to perform well in all phases of the game and tonight the special teams did not,” Chiefs coach Perry Woolbright said.  “I can promise that will not happen again.  We will correct these issues in practice and be ready to go against South Brunswick next week.”

The Chiefs’ offense, which was held scoreless in each of the first two games this season, broke the drought 45 seconds into the second quarter when senior quarterback Clint Cole capped a drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.  The ensuing extra point attempted kick by freshman Christian Buis was blocked and West Brunswick held a 7-6 lead.

Taylor Buffkin gave the Trojans a 14-6 advantage going into halftime with a 1-yard TD run, and the start of the second half saw the ball finally bounce the Chiefs’ way for once.  West Brunswick fumbled the kickoff to open the second half and NMB’s Swakeem Cox recovered the ball on the Trojan’s 30-yard line.

Coach Woolbright quickly turned to his bag of tricks as Cole took the snap and pitched the ball to wide receiver Eric Baker who was in motion on an end around.  Baker pulled up and threw a perfect pass to Jameke Gause right down the middle of the field and into the end zone for a touchdown.  Cole attempted a two-point run conversion but it failed, leaving NMB two points shy of West Brunswick at 14-12.

“We have worked on that play the past couple of weeks just for that type of situation,” said Woolbright.  “It was perfect timing after the turnover as they were on their heels a little bit and stunned.  Their defense wanted to make a big play and try to get the ball back.  They came hard after Eric on the pitch and he threw a great pass to Jameke.”

On the next possession, West Brunswick drove the ball into Chiefs territory before another Trojan miscue quickly led to the Chiefs first lead of the season.  Buffkin’s pitch was wide of his target and NMB sophomore linebacker Laquinn Bellamt scooped up the ball and ran untouched 58 yards for a touchdown that would give the Chiefs their first lead of the season.  Once again, the extra point attempt was blocked to leave NMB with an 18-14 advantage.

West Brunswick took the lead with 9:49 to play in the fourth quarter when Buffkin faked a pitch to the right and ran around the left side on a naked reverse, just sneaking inside the pylon on a fourth-and-goal play.  Following NMB’s third fumble of the game, the Trojans used NMB’s trick play against them to take the lead.  Buffkin pitched the ball to Sean Hewitt who threw a pass to Cameron Smith in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown.  Smith then kicked his fourth extra point of the game to give West Brunswick a 28-18 lead with just 1:58 to play.

“Our defense has played well all season but the offense and special teams continue to ask the defense to play with their backs to our own goal line,” said Woolbright.  “The defense played well again tonight but three turnovers and a blocked punt kept putting us in a bad situation.”

The Chiefs miscues through three games include 11 lost fumbles, an interception, two blocked extra point attempts, a missed 25-yard field goal, and three blocked or deflected punts.  NMB has also been flagged for 23 penalties this season.

On the positive side, the Chiefs’ offense posted 241 yards of total offense against West Brunswick to nearly equal the 250 yards of total offense the team had in the first two games.  Cole was responsible for 145 of those yards as he ran the ball 22 times for 84 yards and completed six passes for 61 yards.
North Myrtle Beach will try to end the program’s 15-game losing skid this Friday when the Chiefs play host to South Brunswick at 7:30 p.m.

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