LITTLE RIVER – If there was one way to sum up the entire first half, missed opportunities would be the term to use. Everything started off right on the first possession of the game. The Chiefs began at their own 27 yard line and were driving strongly. Ramsey Lewis who would finish with 106 yards on 17 carries was chewing up clock time on a methodical drive. Then just like that, West Brunswick would get a critical takeaway off a fumble on a bad snap stalling the Chiefs momentum.
Three turnovers, two of which were interceptions that literally bounced off receivers hands plagued the Chiefs. A wonderfully thrown pass by Cason McClendon that Zyer Belle ran in for a touchdown was also negated because of a penalty. It was frustrating to watch as the Chiefs dominated the game in the trenches, but only had a 7-0 lead to show for it at halftime.
West Brunswick, a team known for the ability to pound the rock, found themselves running into walls for much of the night. The Trojans were limited to just 130 total yards. Marcellous Livingston led the Chiefs with 7 total tackles. West Brunswick scored their only touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a short plunge from Dante Williams. That play came against the Chiefs second team.
The second half surge was like the flip of a light switch. For a moment, it appeared that West Brunswick had finally found a hole in the Chiefs defense. Star running back Austin Simmons ran the ball 43 yards deep into NMB territory, setting up a 42 yard field goal by sophomore kicker Lauch Murphy which pulled West Brunswick to within 7-3.
But Zyon Belle had other answers. Belle, the bruising power back that ran all over Loris last week, made another play to electrify the crowd after the field goal. The 5-10 junior took the kickoff and nearly went untouched, running straight to the end zone for a 95 yard return. For a fan base that was dying for a little bit of juice, Belle was able to provide that and more.
Now it was West Brunswick’s turn to be a victim of a bad snap. The snap resulted in the ball rolling on the ground and Jordyn Gillings was there to take advantage of the opportunity. Gillings scooped up the ball at the 7 yard line and walked into the end zone to make it 21-3.
Time for the Chiefs defense to let up just a little bit right? Not a chance!! West Brunswick quarterback Jay Fletcher dropped back to pass and had nothing but fear in his eyes. Malachi Black forced his way through the line and got downhill in a flash. In a moment of panic, Fletcher dropped the ball without even a hand on him. Black was able to secure possession and rumbled up to the 32, putting the Chiefs in scoring position before being tackled. Zyon Belle put the final nail in the coffin, rolling past the Trojans defense for the score.
North Myrtle Beach got one more touchdown run from Lewis in the fourth which helped secure the victory. It was a second half highlighted by a dominant running game, punishing defense, and spectacular special teams unit. When playing at 100%, this Chiefs team is balanced in all three phases of the game.
With the win, the Chiefs are now 3-0 and have racked up 16 consecutive games at the Hank Hester Sports Complex. Coach Matt Reel is 15-1 overall, and this team has to be feeling really good about themselves. However, there is still a ton of work to be done. It’ll be a war throughout September and October as the Chiefs continue to make a push toward the postseason.
Next up on the schedule will be a two game road trip in the South Strand, which will start off on Friday 9/7 at St. James. Kickoff is set for 730. The following week the Chiefs will be in Socastee before returning home for a battle with Marlboro County.
NMB – Ramsey Lewis – 7 yard run. (Zane Smith kick)
WB – Lauch Murphy – 42 yard field goal.
WB – Zyon Belle – 95 yard kickoff return. (Zane Smith kick)
NMB – Jordyn Gillings – 7 yard fumble recovery.
NMB – Zyon Belle – 32 yard run. (Zane Smith kick)
NMB – Ramsey Lewis – 3 yard run. (Zane Smith kick)
WB – Dante Williams – 3 yard run. (Lauch Murphy kick)
Passing: NMB – Cason McClendon 11-14-2-130. WB – Jay Fletcher 2-7-0-39.
Rushing: NMB – Ramsey Lewis 17-106. WB – Austin Simmons 24-111.
Receiving: NMB – Naseem Harrison 5-54. WB – Nashawn Price 2-39.
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