SEAHAWKS STORM PAST GREER FOR STATE TITLE

Over the summer, the Myrtle Beach players were gathered inside the tunnel underneath Section 21 at Williams-Brice Stadium.

It was July 26, and Mickey Wilson’s team had just finished a 7-on-7 game. There, looking out at midfield, the Seahawks heard an impassioned speech from their coach.

He told them to keep working. He told them to keep improving. He told them they would be back.

On Friday, Myrtle Beach didn’t just return to Williams-Brice. It earned its eighth state championship in program history with a 37-21 victory over Greer, a win that proved the 10th year coach’s summertime motivational talk a bit prophetic.

Or at the very least, the proper inspiration. 

“He put it in our hands,” senior receiver Marcus Grissett said. “[He told us] that we had a team that could win a state championship.”

Myrtle Beach’s victory was every bit the result of a monster second half that could be described as dominating. After trailing 14-10 at half, the Seahawks grabbed control of the game by scoring touchdowns on four consecutive offensive series and making Greer look as out-of-sorts as it had all season.

The Yellow Jackets’ only influential play of the second half came on a 66-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Matthew Huff to freshman receiver Jaleel Skinner. It was a flashy break that kept the game from looking even more lopsided, but it did little else by delay the inevitable of Myrtle Beach’s otherwise overwhelming show of force after the break.

Quarterback Luke Doty gave his team the lead with a 4-yard scamper seven minutes into the second half, and running back Jemani Green extended the advantage less than three minutes after that with a 14-yard run of his own. Doty hit Wyatt Roache from 23 yards out before the end of the third.

After Skinner’s long touchdown reception, the Seahawks responded with another Doty-Roache connection.

“Luke, the receivers, the [offensive] line, everybody came out and executed better in the second half,” offensive coordinator Wes Streater said. “We played well as a unit. It shows the maturity of the group, the trust in the group.”

Considering how woeful much of the first half looked on that side of the ball, when Myrtle Beach had just 86 yards of offense, the response after the break was quite impressive. It was the first time all season Myrtle Beach failed to score an offensive touchdowns before halftime. Had it not been for a J.J. Dent recovery of a Xayvion Knox blocked punt, the Seahawks would have been held out of the end zone in the first two quarters entirely.

But what Myrtle Beach also had was yet another stout effort from its defense.

The Seahawks had six sacks – two each from Salim Sessions and Michael Brown and one apiece from J.B. Favorite and Shedrick Pointer – and intercepted Huff four times, with T.J. Austin, Quamil Spells, Austin Randall and Knox each snagging one. The most impressive overall effort, though, may have been what Myrtle Beach did to Greer Shrine Bowl running back Dre Williams.

Despite entering the game with more than 2,300 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns, he finished with a rather pedestrian-looking 51 yards. He found the end zone on a 34-yard screen pass in the second quarter, but the Marshall commitment had just two runs of 5 yards or longer after the opening quarter. He average 8.9 yards per carry during the team’s first 14 games.

“Our defense has carried us all year. Our defensive staff is amazing,” Wilson said. “In the first half, we couldn’t find a rhythm and find ourselves offensively. They got us into the second half where we could.”

Said Favorite: “We went into this game with the same mindset as the last one – if we tackle and wrap up, then we will win. That’s what we did. He got a couple big runs, but we stopped him and got a bunch of three-and-outs.”

It provided the perfect recipe for another state title, five years to the day after its last. They have been so abundant that Grissett he became the third brother in his family to win a championship at Myrtle Beach, joining M.J. and Markyl.

And for Wilson, he added a third title to his 10-year tenure. The latest one ended a complicated year that was broken up Hurricane Florence and the ensuing flooding, additional storms during the back end of the regular season and the Class 4A championship getting played one day earlier because of a yet another storm set to hit Saturday.

Myrtle Beach adjusted on the biggest of stages.

“It’s been a crazy year,” Wilson said. “We’ve had games moved up, games moved back, had time off from the storm – it’s just been a crazy year. To win a state championship with this team after the game gets moved up because storms are coming in and we had to come back from behind in the second half, it’s just great.”

And maybe a touch predictable.

– Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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