By Lonnie Turner
In the WBTW-TV high school football game of the week, the Dillon Wildcats ran rough-shod over the Chiefs of North Myrtle Beach, 54-14, almost identical to the score in last year’s opening game for the two teams. At home, the Wildcats thrashed the Chiefs, 56-16, to start the 2014 season.
Because of distant lightning in a thundercloud that stayed well north of the stadium, school officials instructed the game officials that the start of the game would be delayed until they deemed it safe for the players to be on the field. After a 45 minute wait, the teams began pre-game exercises and just minutes after 8:30, the game began as rain began to fall.
The rain hampered Ronnie Bass, the junior quarterback for the Chiefs, causing 10 fumbles and two pass interceptions, but the Wildcat offense was operating on all cylinders, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, 20 in the second, 13 in the third, and one in the fourth quarter.
Five different ‘Cats scored touchdowns with Daeshawn Davis scoring three times, Avery McCall rushing for two, Jamison Chapman carried into the end zone on two runs. The eighth score was turned in by defensive back DeKendric Graves when he picked off his second interception of the game and went 36 yards untouched into the end zone to start the fourth quarter.
In the opening drive of the game, the Wildcats marched 65 yards in nine plays behind the running of senior tailback Jamison Chapman and quarterback Avery McCall. McCall carried twice for 21 yards and Chapman tallied 34 yards on five running plays including a one yard plunge for his first touchdown.
After holding the Chief to three plays and out, the Wildcats took advantage of a short 14-yard punt to put six more points on the board in a matter of less than three minutes. In just three plays, McCall, after completing a short pass, tucked the ball under his arm and ran 32-yards for his first touchdown of the season and Drew Covington kicked his second straight PAT to take a 14-0 lead.
North Myrtle Beach moved the ball well on their next possession on the running and passing of Bass. The Chiefs drove to the Dillon 12-yard line, picking up four first downs on the way, but a fumble at the Wildcats 16-yard line was recovered by Xavier McMillon, who returned the ball 44 yards to the North Myrtle Beach 32 to set up another touchdown. McCall went to work in a hurry, hitting Daeshawn Davis with a 16-yard first down pass and later in the short drive found Chapman at the Chief’s five-yard line for a first and goal. McCall ran two quarterback sneaks before getting into the end zone from a yard out for a 20-0 lead with 11:31 remaining in the first half.
A 52-yard run by Johnny Allen gave the Wildcats a first down at the Chief’s 8-yard line after forcing the Chiefs to punt on fourth and 14. That set up the first touchdown for Daeshawn Davis, who ran the next play into the end zone for a 26-0 lead with eight minutes remaining in the half. Davis would score again three minutes later on their next possession after Chapman broke through the Chief defense and ran 80 yards to set up a 5-yard run for Davis.
North Myrtle Beach took advantage of a personal foul penalty to score before the half ended. Taking over at the Dillon 21, it took two plays for Bass to connect with his favorite target, Tyler Gore, wide open at the 10, who scampered the rest of the way untouched. The half ended with the Wildcats on top, 34-7.
The first half was highlighted by the running of Chapman, 10 carries for 122 yards, who shares the rushing chores with fellow running back, junior Johnny Allen, who carried three times in the first half for 69 yards. With the passing of senior quarterback McCall and the running of Chapman and Allen, the Cats chewed up 325 yards in total offense in the first 24 minutes of play.
The Wildcats scored on the first two possessions of the second half with Chapman capping a 55-yard drive after holding the Chiefs scoreless on their opening possession of the second half. Chapman’s second touchdown of the game covered six yards. Davis scored his third score of the evening on the receiving end of an Austin Moody pass just four minutes later.
Graves intercepted for the second time, this time at the Chief’s 36, and it was 54-7 four plays into the final quarter.
Aided by a pass interference call on the last possession for the Chiefs, Bass was able to get a short pass to wide out Austin Griffin with less than a minute left in the game to score a 12-yard touchdown.
Dillon finished the game with 421 yards in total offense and 539 overall yards, while the Dillon defense gave up 182 yards. The Chiefs racked up 206 yards in return yardage, but each time, the Cat defense rose to the occasion to keep them out of the end zone.
Chapman led all running backs in the contest, carrying the ball 14 times for 165 yards and McCall was 6 for 10 to account for 52 yards in the first half. Moody, who entered the game at the start of the second half completed the only pass that he attempted for the 12 yard touchdown to Davis.
Defensively, the Cats were led on the tackle sheet by Jermaine McDaniel with 10 total tackles, which included two and one half quarterback sacks. Quamel Laurenceau recorded nine tackles and a sack and a half. Early in the first quarter Zareon Hayes made a statement, rushing the Chief’s quarterback for a sack.
Many Wildcat fans made the trip to the beach to watch the Cats in their opener despite the inclement weather. Hopefully when the time comes for the trip to Lake View this week, there will be better weather. The team will be pulling out from the Ray Rogers II field house for Gatorland at around 5:30 p.m. Friday, so if you folks would like to join a convoy down Highway 9, be there!