Tigers reclaim Victory Bell, snap MB’s winning streak

Photo courtesy of Chuck Silvey

The Conway Tigers snapped Myrtle Beach’s 17-game winning streak and recaptured the rivalry’s coveted Victory Bell by defeating the nationally ranked and Class AAA’s No.1-ranked Seahawks 21-12 on Friday night in the Backyard.

Conway quarterback Mykal Moody threw a touchdown pass to give the Tigers the early lead and then broke TD runs of 92 and 65 yards before leaving the game with an injury in the third quarter. The Tigers (4-1) then turned it over to their defense.

The Seahawks (4-1) , who gained almost twice as many total yards as the Tigers, were turned away three times inside the red zone and lost the ball on down six times on the night. Myrtle Beach tallied 440 yards to Conway’s 225 but was unable to capitalize on several scoring opportunities.

Conway’s defense came up big when it counted and kept the Seahawks out of the end zone except in the closing minutes of both halves. Special teams play was also huge, beginning with the opening kickoff.

Myrtle Beach fumbled on its own 9 and Moody threw a fourth-down, 4-yard TD pass to Cole Watson to put the Tigers on top 7-0 early. Myrtle Beach responded by driving to the Conway 4 but turned the ball over on downs for the first of six times. Moody broke loose for a 92-yard TD two plays later for a quick 14-0 advantage.

The Seahawks repeatedly came up short on fourth downs until just before the half. Co-QB C.J. Cooper hit Vincent Hoover for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds left in the second period, but Max Huggins’ PAT was blocked to make it a 14-6 deficit at halftime.

On the first play of the second half, Moody ran 65 yards to paydirt to recharge the Tigers and the home crowd. Moody suffered a slight concussion on the next Conway series and backup Sawyer Jordan was pressed into service. The son of Conway head coach Chuck Jordan was conservative but consistent, even quick-kicking on two occasions to catch the Seahawks off guard and let the defense do the dirty work.

The Seahawks struggled against Conway’s blitzing defense, with Cooper finally leading them to the end zone with a 24-yard TD pass to Trell Harrell with 6:26 remaining. Oddly, Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson chose to go for 2 and Tyrone Cooper dropped the pass in the end zone to keep it a two-score game, 21-12.

Myrtle Beach got the ball back with 5 minutes left but was unable to put together another drive. Conway ran out the clock on a successful fake punt play and the celebration began as the Tigers ran to the Seahawks’ sideline and bring it back to the Conway side for the first time in five years.

“It’s been a while since we had the Victory Bell but we’re glad it’s back where it belongs,” said Conway coach Chuck Jordan.”

Myrtle Beach, which had won four straight Victory Bells and 17-games in a row overall, will likely drop from its No. 1 perch in Class AAA and No. 25 in USA Today’s Super 25 poll.

Moody finished with 180 rushing yards on 14 carries for two touchdowns and completed 5-of-8 passes for 28 yards and 1 TD, accounting for all but 17 yards of Conway’s total offensive output. His future status is uncertain but the Tigers have a bye week for him to recover before opening region play.

The Seahawks open region play next week when they host Wilson.

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