By John Smithson
The fifth ranked North Myrtle Beach Chiefs started slowly last Friday night but then dismantled the Darlington Falcons by a 63-14 score.
The Chiefs and Falcons traded possessions for most of the first quarter until a Darlington touchdown seemed to spark the Chiefs and got their offense going for the rest of the Friday homecoming game at Darlington High School.
The Chiefs fell on the opening kickoff at their 22 yard line, but four downs later punted to the Darlington 40. Darlington lost 18 yards in two plays and on fourth down punted for twelve yards to their own 35. The Chiefs couldn’t move the ball and eventually tried a pass play on fourth down with Cam Freeman unable to get the pass off and losing yardage to the Falcon 45.
Darlington began their second series with a snap past quarterback Deuce Hudson for a 15 yard loss back to their 30 yard line. Two pass attempts later the Falcons were still at the 30 and punted, with a good return by Chandler McCall setting the Chiefs up at the Darlington 28. Nyliek Livingston got three yards to the 25 and then to the 20, with a Darlington personal foul moving the Chiefs offense to the 10.
Livingston ran it on first down to the three yard line, but on the next play a high snap by the Chiefs bounced off Livingston and was picked up by Qualeik Lewis, who ran it 88 yards for a Darlington touchdown. The Falcons missed the PAT and it was 6-0.
The ensuing Falcon kickoff was taken by Livingston and returned to the Chiefs 34. Livingston ran to the 42, followed by a four yard loss back to the 38. The Chiefs offense then got started. Cam Freeman hit Xavier Anderson for a 52 yard pass and run to the Darlington 10. Livingston finished the drive off tackle for the Chiefs touchdown and Zane Smith’s PAT for a 7-6 lead with 1:27 left in the first quarter.
The Falcons started their next series on their 20 after another typical Smith kickoff. The Chiefs defense forced a loss of four and no gains, forcing another Darlington punt to the Falcons 45. Devin Montgomery ran to the 38 and Anderson took a Freeman pass to the Darlington 7 as the first quarter ended.
The Chiefs began the second quarter with a Freeman keeper to the 5 and a tough run by Montgomery to the left and into the end zone for a 13-6 lead, followed by Smith’s kick and 14-6 score.
The Falcons next series began at the 20 and ended at the 24, with a punt to the Chiefs 48. North Myrtle Beach got to midfield and Livingston then ran to the 38 for a first down. Two pass completions to McCall sandwiched around a 7 yard Livingston run resulted in a first down at the 13. Livingston then ran to the seven, then untouched for seven more for the Chiefs third TD and a 21-6 lead at the 5:25 mark.
Darlington received the kickoff at the 6, returned to the 10 and after a first down, were forced to punt after a fourth down at the 20. The Falcons punt bounced to the Chiefs 43. Two Livingston runs set up a first down at the 22. A Freeman pass to Chris Webb for a touchdown was called back and a Chiefs penalty pushed them to the 37. A pass to Moss got the Chiefs to the 27 but the drive stalled and a Zane Smith had his 45 yard field goal attempt blocked with 1:08 left in the half.
Darlington made a first down, couldn’t move and punted to the Chiefs at their 26. NMB took a knee to end the half leading 21-6.
The Chiefs kicked off to start the third quarter and the Falcons were set to punt from their 33 when the snap went over the punters head and the Chiefs took over at the Darlington 7 yard line. Livingston quickly dashed off the left side for the touchdown and 28-6 lead after the PAT.
Darlington took the Chiefs kick to their 19, but three downs later were at their 13 and punted to their 35 with a Chiefs return to the 19 of Darlington. Two plays later the Chiefs scored on a mis-direction pitch to Moss for twelve yards, a touchdown and a 35-6 lead.
Darlington’s next offensive series netted a first down after a start on the 20, but they punted after moving to the 40. The Chiefs returned the punt to their 35. Devin Montgomery broke three tackles to the Darlington 49. Freeman followed a long incompletion with a 47 yard run to the 1 yard line. Elijah Vereen scored the TD from the wildcat formation and the Chiefs upped the score to 42-6.
The Falcons returned the kickoff to their 30 but they stalled and failed to convert a fourth down try from their 43. Livingston then took the ball through the center of the defensive line, cut right and down the sidelines to the 19. Will Murray at quarterback then completed a pass to Kris Webb for the touchdown and 49-6 lead.
The Falcons returned the kickoff to the 25 but lost the ball on downs at their 34. The Chiefs made them pay as Montgomery took the handoff and took it over the middle for a touchdown and 56-6 score and twelve seconds left in the third quarter.
Darlington ended the quarter and ended their offense after four downs with a punt and a Chiefs return to the Falcons 23. A few plays later Will Murray passed ten yards to KJ Stanley for the Chiefs final touchdown and a 63-6 lead.
Following the Chiefs kickoff, Darlington got a first down to the 36 and two plays later quarterback Deuce Hudson hit a 66 yard pass play for a touchdown to Montaviuos Edwards, added a two-point conversion and the score was 63-14. The Chiefs used up the clock and their final punt allowed Darlington time for one incomplete pass and the Chiefs celebrated their 63-14 win.
In his post-game comments coach Matt Reel was asked about his team’s slow start. “We have to focus. We control our own destiny. We have to settle down, relax and make the plays. When we do that, we are fine. We did a great job. We are the deepest group we’ve ever been. Top to bottom they are really good. We have to mix our pass and run more. We have two good quarterbacks who throw well. When you work hard good things happen. We play next week at home and we need a win to lock down a playoff spot and get to the next level. We have to stay focused and motivated,” Reel said.