Week 11 Previews & Picks: Chiefs hit stride at right time

nmbfoot-diveTiming may be the most underrated aspect of playoff football, and North Myrtle Beach may be the most underrated team.

The Chiefs (4-6) have been through a season-long adjustment period under first-year head coach Blair Hardin, which finally clicked in last week’s 14-11 upset of No. 1 Myrtle Beach and just in time for the start of the Class 3A playoffs.

After struggling through a tough non-region schedule and making several midseason changes to the starting lineup, North Myrtle Beach finally seemed to put it all together against the Seahawks. Somehow the Chiefs earned the region’s No. 2 seed and will play host to Midland Valley (6-4).

The Chiefs could be the sleepers of the Lower State bracket, especially if they continue to improve on what they have built this season. If they can avoid the mistakes and turnovers that plagued them most of the year, they can make a run. … North Myrtle Beach 27, Midland Valley 14.

* Gilbert at Myrtle Beach: The Seahawks (9-1) and their shot at a perfect season got upstaged last week, and that’s bad news for Gilbert (5-5) in Friday’s first-round matchup.

Myrtle Beach running back Brandon Sinclair suffered an ankle injury that could limit the Seahawks’ balanced offensive attack, but quarterback Drayton Arnold and his arsenal of receivers should be able to handle the visiting Indians, who are winless on the road and gave up 56 points last week at Swansea. … Myrtle Beach 45, Gilbert 14.

* Socastee at Sumter: The Braves (7-3 overall, 2-2 Region 6-4A) face a complicated playoff scenario, but they aren’t looking at it that way. “Win and we’re in” is the mindset for Socastee as they travel to face the Gamecocks (6-4, 3-1) with the No. 2 seed on the line.

The Braves need to control the clock and the ground game to keep Sumter’s offensive weapons on the sidelines but that may not be easy against a staunch Gamecocks’ defense. The turnover battle will be critical. … Socastee 20, Sumter 17.

* Conway at Carolina Forest: Only pride is on the line in this rivalry of Highway 501 neighbors. With identical 2-8 records and no hope of making the postseason, a win in this one would end an otherwise disappointing season on a positive note. … Conway 28, Carolina Forest 24.

Last week 3-2, Overall 38-12

Photo courtesy of NMB Athletics

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