Week 5: Braves end skid; MB wins ugly Victory Bell

How do you know when you have a pretty good football team? When you beat your biggest rival by 32 points and one of the first words out of your mouth to describe your team’s performance is “sloppy.”

That was the case for defending Class 4-A champion Myrtle Beach in Friday’s 41-9 win over visiting Conway in the annual Battle for the Victory Bell rivalry. Despite dominating the game from start to finish, the No. 1 Seahawks were less than pleased with their play.

“I’m proud of us for getting the win, but that was too sloppy,” said Myrtle Beach coach and Conway grad Mickey Wilson, whose Seahawks have now won 10 of the last 12 in the series. “We’ve got to do better than that.”

In a game that saw the referees throw more flags (32) than the starting quarterbacks threw completions (29) or teams combined to make first downs (31), Myrtle Beach managed to control it from the opening kickoff. Senior Xayvion Knox capped their first drive on a 7-yard touchdown run and followed it up with an interception to halt Conway’s opening possession.

Myrtle Beach (4-0) mounted a 94-yard march that was aided by a pair of questionable pass interference penalties. Rayshad Feaster’s 15-yard TD scamper gave Myrtle Beach a 14-0 edge at the end of the first quarter.

Following a missed field goal by the Tigers (0-4), Myrtle Beach senior quarterback Luke Doty connected with Darius Hough for an 80-yard TD strike on the next play. Doty hit Ben Herriott for a 38-yard TD pass to put the Seahawks 27-0.

Conway finally found the end zone when quarterback Carlton Terry Jr. connected with Xavier Kinlaw on a 72-yard TD, but Doty responded with his third TD pass of the game to JJ Jones for an 8-yard score just before the half to make it 34-7 at intermission.

“We will take it, but it was definitely sloppy,” said Doty, who completed 12 of 21 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns. “It’s great to win, especially against a big rival like Conway, but we also expect to play at a high level.”

Defense and special teams stole the spotlight in the second half. Conway blocked a Myrtle Beach punt out of the end zone for a safety, and Myrtle Beach’s Kenny Byrd scolred the Seahawks only points in the second half on a 78-yard interception return.

That was Terry’s third pick of the night. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 153 yards and led the Tigers on some sustained drives that repeatedly fell short. Conway’s offense continued to struggle as its nine points of production is a season-high.

Both teams enter their respective region schedules next week as Region 6-5A foe West Florence visits Conway. Myrtle Beach plays host to reigning Region 6-4A champion Hartsville in a rematch of last year’s Lower State final.

“I really like our football team but we have to get better,” Wilson said. “You don’t want to be playhing your best football right now, and we’re not, buy hopefully we will by November.

Socastee 14, Georgetown 13

It finally happened.

The Socastee Braves got their first touchdown and first win of the season in a 14-13 victory over the Georgetown Bulldogs.

“It feels great, finally,” said Socastee head coach Marty Jacobs. “We got that monkey off our back.”

Coming into the game, the Braves had a dismal 0-3 record and hadn’t been able to muster a single touchdown. Last week, they suffered a 26-0 loss against North Myrtle Beach. Their top three offensive players against the Chiefs, quarterback Jake Marlow, running back Luke Bozard and wide receiver Khaleb Scoggins, had just 100 yards between them. Quarterback Darius Lewis, who had been out since the opener, wasn’t playing.

But that changed Friday night when Lewis took the field.

“I thought he played well under the circumstances,” Jacobs said. “He didn’t know if he was going to be the starting quarterback tonight or not. We were letting our guys compete for that spot. If you noticed, Darius got the first series and Jake (Marlow) got the second series. Darius seemed to have the hot hand, [so] we stayed with him. We feel like we’re blessed right now with two guys who are playing at a high level.”

The Bulldogs (1-2) entered Friday’s game with some injuries after taking a loss against St. James last week.

During their first possession, the Braves nearly scored their first touchdown of the season with a strong run-heavy drive. But Bozard fumbled the ball in the end zone and Georgetown recovered on the. They then capitalized on their luck with a touchdown from running back Tyja Bradford.

The Braves didn’t get a second drive until the end of the first quarter. That drive started with a fumble that they managed to recover, but they couldn’t get back the lost yards and had to punt to Georgetown, who got off on the wrong foot after some extracurricular activities resulted in a 30-yard penalty. The Bulldogs had to punt as well.

The Braves successfully managed to move the ball downfield on their third drive, using a mix of runs and screen passes. But a potential touchdown got called back after a penalty and Georgetown got the ball back, only to punt again.

In a last-ditch effort to score before the half, quarterback Darius Lewis threw a bomb into the endzone, only to get picked off. The first half ended with 7 points on the board for the Bulldogs while the Braves remained scoreless.

“We’ve got to cut out the penalties, the mistakes, the turnovers,” Jacobs said. “We’re still shooting ourselves in the foot. We had three touchdowns called back form penalties. We had a couple penalties that stopped drives that didn’t score. So we’ve just got to clean it up. We’re playing with a half old group and a half young group, and the young group’s still making some mistakes.”

In the second half, the momentum appeared to swing toward the Braves when running back and wide receiver Walker Martin caught a toss and then threw downfield to Byce Ward, who was wide open in the end zone. Socastee converted for an extra two points. A few plays later, Socastee appeared to have intercepted the ball from the Bulldogs, but it was called back after a pass interference penalty.

The momentum was briefly interrupted when Georgetown’s Bradford took the ball down the field for a touchdown on the next drive, but the Bulldogs missed the extra point. The third quarter ended with a score of 13-8, Georgetown.

In the fourth quarter, the Braves again answered the call to arms as the hometown crowd got louder and more involved in the game. The Braves’ band picked up the tempo. Bozard got his shot at redemption with a touchdown, and with less than nine minutes left in the game, the Braves had taken the lead, 14-13.

After that, the Braves managed to keep the ball on the ground on their last drive and ran out the clock for a win.

By Christian Boschult

Carolina Forest 49, Loris 6

Carolina Forest rebounded from last week’s loss to Myrtle Beach by overpowering Loris in a 49-6 rout Friday.

“We had to have our kids have a big bounce back win after a big loss last week,” said Carolina Forest coach Marc Morris. “We prepared all week and our kids came out ready to play.”

Quarterback Mason Garcia opened the scoring for the Panthers with a 29-yard touchdown run within the first two minutes of the opening quarter. The Panthers found the end zone again less than three minutes later when running back David Legette scored from 17 yards out to put his team up 14-0.

Carolina Forest added a third touchdown in the first quarter when Garcia found Trevor Lavallee from 14 yards out with 4:21 left in the quarter.

Garcia finished the night with 263 yards on 17 of 23 passing with one touchdown to go with 68 yards rushing on four carries.

“We are going to play however he plays and we needed him to have a good night tonight,” Morris said. “Loris did some things that made us throw the ball tonight and he did well out there.”

Legette scored his second touchdown of the night with less than five minutes left in the second quarter. Legette finished the night with seven carries and 44 yards.

The Panthers tacked on a fifth touchdown in the first half when Connor Meehan returned a blocked punt 46 yards to the end zone with 1:46 left in the half.

Carolina Forest possessed the ball throughout most of the third quarter and racked up another touchdown with 2:01 left in third to make it 42-0.

The Panthers scored their final touchdown of the night midway through the fourth quarter when backup QB Kyle Watkins found DJ Admill on a 15-yard dime to make it 49-0.

Loris finally got on the scoreboard with under 70 seconds to go in the game. Gage Conner hit Brice Faircloth for a 43-yard touchdown pass.

Loris saw the extra point miss as the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar and fell in front of the goal post.

“We were battle tested from the word go,” said Loris coach Jamie Snider. “I think the thing I was most happy about tonight was our effort. They fought and they never gave up. You saw that as the found a way to score with just over a minute to go in the game.”

Loris now sets their eyes on region play next week as Lake City comes to town.

“I’ve told our kids that this is the season that matters,” Snider said. “We have to have a front windshield view. The past is behind us. We need to learn from our mistakes and look forward because what we do within the next five weeks determines where we go.”

Carolina Forest returns home next week to take on Socastee, who ended their three-game scoreless streak with a 14-13 win over Georgetown Friday.

“What they have been doing up to this point doesn’t matter. It’s the first conference game next week,” Morris said. “All this non-conference stuff is just practice to get to conference play, so Socastee will be a good opponent for us. Our kids just need to be ready to play.”

Loris and Lake City kickoff next week at 7:30 p.m. in Loris. Carolina Forest gets their game underway against Socastee at 7:30 p.m. as well.

By Ian Livingston

– Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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