Playing through a heavy fog at South Aiken High School, the North Myrtle Beach Chiefs defeated the South Aiken Thoroughbreds (5-6) in the first round of the class 4A state football playoffs this past Friday night. The Chiefs (7-3) dominated throughout and moved to 7-3 on the season with the 52-21 win over the No. 3 seed out of region 5.
North Myrtle Beach was forced to punt on their opening drive, but an interception by NMB’s Derrien Holmes three plays later set up the Chiefs for the first score of the game midway through the opening quarter. Sophomore kicker Zane Smith split the uprights for a 20 yard field goal to put the Chiefs up 3-0.
A defensive stop by the Chiefs set up a North Myrtle Beach touchdown near the start of the second quarter when Ramsey Lewis broke free for a 61 yard carry into the end zone. The successful point after attempt by Smith put the Chiefs ahead 10-0.
South Aiken answered with a touchdown of their own, before NMB extended the lead with just over one minute remaining in the half. Devin Montgomery took a 9 yard carry into the end zone to set the score at 17-7 at the half.
The Chiefs racked up 35 points in the second half, including 4 straight scores to open the period.
Lewis scored his second touchdown of the game to begin the streak with a 9 yard carry. Jordyn Gillings scooped a fumble for a 28 yard touchdown, tight end Dawson Hardee added his notch in the scoring column and Nick Vereen capped the run with a 7 yard carry into the end zone to put the game out of reach for the Thoroughbreds.
Down 45-7, South Aiken gave it a shot, reeling off two consecutive scores to bring them within 24 points. The Chiefs shut the door of opportunity however moments later when Nick Vereen took a 10 yard run into the end zone to close out the scoring and set the final at 52-21.
The Chiefs racked up nearly 400 yards of offense in the win, without a turnover.
Senior quarterback Cason McClendon went 9-13 passing for 109 yards and one touchdown. Derrien Holmes led all receivers with 5 catches for 42 yards, while Dawson Hardee had 2 receptions for 51 yards. Nick Vereen led the rushing column with his second half performance, carrying the ball 10 times for 68 yards.
The Chiefs are back home this Friday night for the second round of the state playoffs. They’ll face the Wilson Tigers, a region foe that defeated the Chiefs earlier in the season. Due to the 3 way tie for third place in region 6-4A, the Chiefs grabbed the 3rd seed, with Wilson the 4th seed based on the tiebreaker.
If you can’t make it to the game, you can catch all of the action live on WRNN 99.5 FM or online at NMBChiefs.com. Tyler Watkins, Wayne White and Denver Cromer will bring you all of the action beginning at 7 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.