MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We have six teams across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee that will take the field in less than 24 hours with a goal of punching their ticket to next week’s state championship games in Columbia.
In Little River the North Myrtle Beach Chiefs continue their historic season. The second ranked Chiefs are in the lower state finals for the first time in program history and will welcome in a familiar foe in Myrtle Beach. Matt Reel and company are excited to be at this point and have extreme confidence going in.
“We feel great right now,” said North Myrtle Beach running back NyLiek Livingston. “We feel great in the position we’re in so we’re just trying to take advantage of it.”
“Now we’re already at the Lower State and we didn’t even know if we were going to be playing this year,” admitted North Myrtle Beach safety Chandler McCall. “With a chance to go to the state championship, it’s just unthought of.”
“We had goals when we first got here and it’s taken us a little while to get here but we’re here,” Matt Reel, North Myrtle Beach head coach, said. “I think the biggest thing is how do your kids respond in a big situation? That’s what I’m excited about.”
Their opponents down in Myrtle Beach are back healthy and have had a pair of dominant performances on the road the past couple of weeks. Myrtle Beach had a sloppy game the last time they were in Little River and will aim to correct those mistakes to make it back to Columbia for the third straight season.
“The defense seems pretty stout but I love competition so hopefully they bring their best game, we’re going to bring ours and I’m just ready to have some fun,” said Seahawks running back Andrew Doss.
“We just got to go over there and take care of the football. Number one we can’t turn the football over, we did that last time we played them,” Myrtle Beach head coach Mickey Wilson said. “We have to tackle well, you always have to do that when you play, especially in a championship game.”
We have another dual coverage team matchup in Class 2A. The Yellow Jackets of Andrews have been road warriors to start the playoffs and will hop on the buses once more tomorrow. Head Coach Scott Durham and his guys will have quite the challenge in a Marion team that has started to click in recent weeks.
“They just got a little better at everything they do,” Durham said. “They got a lot of talent and a lot of explosive players, they’ve done a good job of getting number one the ball.”
Friday is also a historical moment for the Jackets. They’re making their first appearance in the Lower State finals in 42 years.
“Our kids happy to be in this position, they’ve been pretty light on the hooves so to speak, been bouncing around, pretty excited about the opportunity,” added Durham.
Up in Marion, the Swamp Foxes are aiming to make it 2-0 against Andrews this season. The Foxes are aware of the strides Andrews has made down the stretch and expect a dogfight Friday night.
“They’re still that same smash mouth team, they’re going to try to run it up the gut so we just have to come prepared tomorrow,” said Marion defensive lineman and South Carolina commit TJ Sanders.
“We definitely can’t sleep on them, they’re coming to play,” Marion linebacker and fullback KyHeim Bethea said. “They are physical up front, they’re big, they can make plays. Like you said they came back in the second half during the first meeting and made it an interesting game.”
If the Foxes are able to come out on top, they’d be heading to the state finals for the first time since 1987. A feat that would mean everything to head coach Randall State and this senior class.
“It’s going to be very special for them because through all of the COVID and all the things we had to fight against, it’s just a miracle and a blessing to be here at the end,” admitted State.
A pair of teams from the Pee Dee represent the area in Class 1A. The Lamar Silver Foxes have had stellar performances at home to start the postseason. Now Chad Wilkes and his guys will hit the road for the first time in the playoffs. Their toughest test to date awaits in an unbeaten Southside Christian squad.
“If we don’t go up there and play our absolute best, they’ll beat us,” admitted Wilkes who is in his second year at the helm in Lamar. “But, we’re excited about it. We feel that any time we play our best, don’t turn the ball over, don’t have stupid penalties, and execute, we can beat anybody.”
Wrapping up in Lake View, the Wild Gators no stranger to big games. They will have by far their toughest test of the season as they welcome in an undefeated Bamberg-Ehrhardt team that has pitched six shut outs this season. The Gators however have proven all year long that they can play with the best of them and plan to leave it all out there tomorrow.
“They’re bigger than us. Any team is always going to be bigger than us,” Wild Gator running back Ja’Correus Ford said. “They’re faster and stronger but we have bigger heart so if we go out there with the biggest heart we’ll win.”
“They remind you of an old wishbone football team,” said Lake View head coach Daryl King. “They want three yards and get up the next play and get three more and all of a sudden they’re going to bust one on you. Their quarterback is a really good player. They run him as much as the running back so it’s a total team that they have.”
Tomorrow night, WMBF News will have you fully covered as we’ll bring you highlights and reaction from all four games in our final edition of Extra Point for the 2020 season.