Very few coaches are big on moral victories. Count Marlboro County High's Bobby Collins among those not high on celebrating anything about a defeat.
However, in last week's game against Dillon, Collins saw a great deal that his team can build upon, despite the loss.
"We had said that the first objective Friday was to get off the bus, get the ball and march down and score. Then we wanted to get the ball back, march down and take control," said Collins.
The Bulldogs accomplished a good portion of that, driving for a touchdown with the opening possession then forcing a turnover. They couldn't convert the turnover into points, however.
"That was a key. If we get so much as a field goal after the interception, it is a different ballgame. Still, in the first half, that was about the only negative," said Collins.
After intermission, the Bulldogs were not able to match Dillon's increased defensive intensity.
"Credit coach Hayes and his staff. They made a few adjustments but mainly just turned up the pressure. Things that worked in the first half no longer worked," said Collins.
The Bulldogs limited Dillon to 20 offensive snaps in the first half, which Collins says is the target.
"Our scheme is to control the ball and minimize the amount of time our defense is on the field. We were successful in the first half against a really good Dillon team," said Collins.
"Our four losses aren't about anything that those opponents did. It is about what we did or didn't do. If we correct our mistakes, those four losses become wins," said Collins.
The Dillon game was a physical one but Collins expects all of the Bulldogs to be in action Friday.
"We are pretty banged up but nobody sustained a real injury," said Collins.
The Bulldogs also expect to have senior receiver / safety / kick returner Jamiek McCoy back in action. He missed the Dillon game with shoulder problems.
Scouting the Chiefs
A doormat only six years ago, the North Myrtle Beach football program continues to be among the best in the state in Class 4A.
Matt Reel took over the program after Blair Hardin turned the Chiefs into winners. In two and a half seasons, Reel has a 25-5 overall record.
So far, the team is undefeated in 2019, outscoring their opponents 107-14. However, the four teams that the Chiefs have faced have a combined 5-13 record, with only St. James having more wins than losses.
This year the Chiefs have moved from a very balanced offense to a much more run-oriented attack. That has to do primarily with the graduation of quarterback Cason McClendon.
With no clear-cut replacement, the Chiefs have used three players under center, with most of the snaps going to senior Ramsey Lewis.
Lewis was the starting running back last season, rushing for a team-high 503 yards. Now at quarterback, he gives the team a dynamic running threat at the position. He has accounted for 204 yards on 11 of 21 passing, while rushing for 339.
Sophomore Cam Freeman was expected to be the starter at quarterback, being much more in the mold of McClendon, a true pocket passer. However, his year hasn't gotten off to a great start, completing only 11 passes for 107 yards.
Lewis is the leading rusher with Devin Montgomery accounting for 113 yards and Messiah Gore adding 105.
The real story of the Chiefs has been the defense, which has allowed only two touchdowns all season.
They aren't physically imposing, but are tenacious and fly to the football.
Junior linebacker Billy Barlow is the leading tackler with 32 stops, including five for lost yardage. TJ Cox, another linebacker, has 24 tackles.
Chase Simmons, an end, leads the defensive front, along with tackle Clay Butler. Butler leads the team with five quarterback sacks. The team is averaging over four sacks per game.
Keys to the game
The Bulldogs will have a distinct size advantage along the offensive line. Marlboro must take advantage of this and be able to bulldoze for yardage.
On defense, the Bulldogs will have to contain Lewis. The senior, either running or passing, has accounted for most of the North Myrtle Beach offense.
Tickets are $10
Tickets at the gate for this, the homecoming game, are $10. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $7 at the field house.
The MCHS Homecoming Parade will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday. The parade will begin on John Corry Road, go through downtown on Main Street, turn on Broad Street and end on Fayetteville Ave. near the Marian Wright Edelman Public Library.
Tee it up
The Bulldogs and Chiefs will kick off at 7:30. The school's homecoming court will be announced at halftime.