The North Myrtle Beach Chiefs varsity football team fell on the road this past Friday night at region foe Darlington 10-9, losing their second straight game.
The No. 7 ranked Chiefs (5-2, 0-2) went into the contest heavily favored over the Falcons (1-7, 1-1), who hadn’t won a game in over 700 days, two seasons.
Playing in front of a large homecoming crowd at Darlington, the Falcons fan base came out for fun and fellowship, until their team had a chance to win, and for those who stuck around, it became a night they’ll never forget.
North Myrtle Beach looked impressive from the start of the game, holding the Falcons to just three plays and a punt on their opening drive.
The Chiefs needed just three plays and 44 yards on their opener to score what most thought would be their first of many on the night. The score was credited to sophomore quarterback Cameron Freeman with a 16 yard carry. Junior kicker Zane Smith added the extra point to make it 7-0 with less than two minutes off the clock.
The Chiefs held Darlington to just three plays and a punt on the Falcons next two drives, but then momentum started to make a move in favor of the Falcons.
On their fourth drive of the game, playing with just 25 players in uniform, the Falcons were able to convert a big fourth down play, and they saw hope.
The half ended with the Chiefs leading 7-0. The Falcons, under first year head coach Raymond Jennings, began making adjustment and devised a plan in the locker room.
North Myrtle Beach was held to just three and out on their opening second half drive, and Darlington went to work. Chewing up 76 yards on their opening, five-play drive, the Falcons used big gains to tie the game 7-7.
A Smith punt three drives later was downed at Darlington’s five yard line and gave the Chiefs defense the opportunity to trap the Falcons in their own end zone. Darlington’s quarterback was sacked two plays later while trying to escape and North Myrtle Beach added a safety to put the Chiefs in the lead 9-7, seconds into the fourth quarter.
North Myrtle Beach’s follow-up drive was over in four plays.
The Darlington Falcons began their game winning drive from their own 17 yard line, marching 77 yards downfield to secure the victory. After being stopped at the Chiefs six yard line, kicker Brian Martin was sent out to try the 24 yard field goal. Martin’s kicking had been wobbly, short, non-targeted and random all night. But, when the Falcons needed Martin the most, he lined up and put a beautiful kick through the middle of the uprights, igniting the fan base that was hungry for a win. The field goal put the Falcons up 10-9, with under four minutes to go.
Sensing victory for the first time since October 13, 2017, the Falcons used aggressive defensive pressure to hold the Chiefs to four plays. Darlington got the ball back via turnover on downs with 2:50 remaining to seal the victory 10-9.
North Myrtle Beach is on the road at Hartsville (5-3, 2-1) this Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.