LITTLE RIVER – It did not take long for the North Myrtle Beach offense to find its form in convincing fashion as the Chiefs surgically tore apart the Loris Lions 41-14 at Hank Hester Stadium on Friday Night. Coach Matt Reel’s crew is off to a 2-0 start and have to feel very good about themselves.
Last week, the offense struggled in the season opening win on the road against Conway. With Naseem Harrison being the only returning piece at the wide receiver position, there were some bumps and bruises as quarterback Cason McClendon has been working hard to develop timing with his new targets.
This week, McClendon was able to make the passing game a factor right away. McClendon, had a solid outing finishing 11 of 18 for 148 yards, two touchdowns, and just one interception which technically wasn’t his fault. It came on a pass that bounced off a receiver and into the defenders arms.
The Chiefs immediately got the momentum going fast as Naseem Harrison took a quick pass from McClendon and ran deep into the Loris secondary, finding his way down to the 33. Ramsey Lewis showed off his outside speed and picked up another 15 yards before finally being tackled at the 18.
From there, Coach Reel fed the workhorse, Zyon Belle. Belle would get three consecutive touches before powering his way across the goal line from the 1. Lewis and Belle are going to be the real deal as a thunder and lightning combination this season.
Loris would get on the board by taking advantage of the Chiefs only interception. Greg Conner hit Jahrique Isaiah with a 15 yard strike in the back corner of the end zone, but the Lions could not convert the point after, cutting the early Chiefs lead to 7-6. This would be the only score that the Chiefs defensive starters would give up all night and it came as a result of the short field.
North Myrtle Beach got right back to work, starting off the next drive with another big play from Belle who found running room on the kickoff return, getting all the way up to the NMB 48. The previous turnover had no impact on the offense at all as McClendon came back with a vengeance, making a great throw to sophomore Zyer Belle who would give the Chiefs a 1st and Goal at the 10.
The second scoring drive was capped with a very bizarre play as Harrison came up with the touchdown. Ramsey Lewis took a handoff from McClendon and fumbled the ball. With the ball rolling at the 1, Harrison was able to come up with it. Harrison, who was the hero in last week’s win, made his presence known with another critical play.
After that, it was all Chiefs for the rest of the night. Zane Smith showed why he has the strongest leg in South Carolina, booting two field goals from 27, and 35 yards out. Smith has hit from as long as 47 yards in the past. The future Division I kicker is a huge weapon to have on the field and will be a major asset for the Chiefs throughout the season.
Both of McClendon’s touchdown passes came in the second half. The first came on the opening drive in the third quarter as Derrien Holmes hauled in an 11 yard grab with 9:58 on the clock. The second was a sharp bullet into the end zone which was caught by tight end Dawson Hardee. Expect Hardee to be more and more involved with the offense. He knows how to put himself in position to make great plays.
The last big play for the Chiefs came from Nick Vereen. Vereen, who will also be a huge part of the running back rotation, beat one defender and sprinted through the line picking up the 22 yard touchdown run. Offensively, this is exactly what Coach Reel wanted to see with both the running and passing game.
Next week, the Chiefs will look to get to 3-0 as the cross state rivalry with West Brunswick will continue. Can the Chiefs pick up their 16th consecutive victory at home? One thing is for sure, this group will be up for the challenge.
NMB – Zyon Belle – 1 yard run. (Zane Smith kick)
LOR – Jahrique Isaiah – 15 yard pass from Greg Conner. (kick blocked)
NMB – Naseem Harrison – 1 yard run. (Zane Smith kick)
NMB – Zane Smith – 27 yard field goal.
NMB – Derrien Holmes – 11 yard pass from Cason McClendon. (Zane Smith kick)
NMB – Dawson Hardee – 7 yard pass from Cason McClendon. (Zane Smith kick)
NMB – Zane Smith – 35 yard field goal.
NMB – Nick Vereen – 22 yard run. (Zane Smith kick)
LOR – Jahrique Isaiah – 35 yard pass from Gage Conner. (2 pt. conversion)
Passing – NMB – McClendon 11-18-148-1, LOR – Conner 13-35-142-0.
Rushing – NMB – Lewis 10-71, LOR – Hemingway 20-104.
Receiving – NMB – Holmes 4-68, LOR – Isaiah 11-122.
Interceptions – LOR – Isaiah 1-5.
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