LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WMBF) - The 2020 season has been good to the guys in Little River. The Chiefs of North Myrtle Beach are in the state title game for the first time in school history. As expected, there is plenty of excitement coming in.
“We have high energy,” North Myrtle Beach running back NyLiek Livingston said. “We know what’s at stake. We know what we can do and we’re just making history so it’s huge for us right now.”
“A lot of times you worry about getting towards the end of your season and the guys get a little tired but I thought we found an extra gear the last couple of weeks as well,” said North Myrtle Beach head coach Matt Reel.
To punch their ticket to Columbia, the Chiefs took down bitter rival Myrtle Beach for the second time in four weeks. In both meetings, North Myrtle’s defense was outstanding, holding the Seahawks to a combined 16 points.
“It doesn’t matter the opponent, it was still a great feeling,” Cameron Freeman, quarterback for the Chiefs, said. “But, beating those guys twice in the same season when everyone doubted us it was unbelieveable.”
A key factor in those wins and all season long has been the running game led by NyLiek Livingston. The senior has amassed nearly 1,400 rushing yards in just nine games with ten scores. He gives all the credit to the five guys up front.
“The chemistry has always been there because I basically grew up with them ever since I was younger,” Livingston said of his offensive line. “As the season progressed it just grew.”
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs have been getting after it all season long. North Myrtle has studs at all three levels of a defensive unit that is limiting opponents to just 205 yards and 12 points each outing.
“Coach Reel is hard on us everyday in practice about being physical, tough, and disciplined,” Chiefs defensive tackle Mark Bellamy said. “We just put it all together Friday night and play.”
“We’ve been good friends for a while now,” North Myrtle Beach linebacker and Clemson baseball commit Billy Barlow added. “They’ve become my brothers since I’ve gotten here my sophomore year. I love these boys with all my heart. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.”
Now Matt Reel and company turn their attention to top-ranked AC Flora. The Falcons and Chiefs are similar in a number of ways. AC Flora comes in unbeaten as well and has a similar offense that has proven it can light up the scoreboard.
“Anytime you get a talented team that’s well coached, they’re going to be a great challenge for us,” Reel said of the Falcons. “We’ll see Saturday. I’m thinking they’re probably going to be the best team we’ve played all year which it should be when you get to this point.”
Come Saturday night, something has to give. The Chiefs expect a hard-nosed game as somebody will be bringing a state championship back to their school for the first time ever.
“It should be a game where when we wake up on Sunday we should be in some ice packs and ice baths,” Reel said of the expected physicality. “We’ll know that we’ve played and they’re going to know that they’ve played us. It’s going to be one of those types of games Saturday night, I don’t expect anything different.”