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N. Myrtle Beach High School
Little River

Chiefs look to reload and make another deep run in 2019

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Little River – The first two seasons of the Matt Reel era as the head football coach at North Myrtle Beach High has gone quite well.

Under Reel, a former assistant in the program before taking over prior to the 2017 season, the Chiefs have gone 20-5 overall with two straight trips into the third round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

The Chiefs were 8-4 last season and Reel faces some holes left by graduation this fall. With a little tinkering offensively, the coach has a good feeling about competing well.

Defensively, North Myrtle Beach lost its top six tacklers from a year ago. The leading returning tackler is senior end Canaan Bowers, who had 31 total hits last season. A handful of starters this season saw action in limited roles last season but will be asked to step up as key players this season.

Working at the other end is senior Chase Simmons while senior Javier Hough and junior Trey Baker will also see time.

At tackle is junior Alex McGillicuddy, backed up by senior Malachi Black, a starting left guard on the offensive line. Senior Clay Butler will start the season at noseguard with senior Jamarie Francois also working in the middle.

The linebackers are new but solid overall as a group. Starting in the middle is sophomore TJ Cox while senior Jackie Gore is at SAM. Working at WILL is junior Billy Barlow. Also expected to rotate in are sophomore Elijah Vereen, junior Daveyon Covington, and junior Devin Montgomery.

Starting corners are junior Nylick Covington and junior Zyer Belle, with senior Malik Livingston and junior Nick Moss adding depth.

Sophomores Chandler McCall and Trace Hall begin the season as the starting safeties, with seniors Darrius Holmes and Ramsey Lewis also working in the back end.

Many of those same names appear prominently on the offensive side as well, starting with Lewis. Lewis, the team’s leading rusher last season with 600 yards, is moving to quarterback this fall as the Chiefs move into an option type attack to utilize his athletic ability. Sophomore Cameron Freeman will begin the season as the backup.

Senior Zyon Belle rushed for 477 yards last year and will be the primary back in the run game. Montgomery also will work in the backfield, gaining 382 yards last season. Nyliek Livingston and Vereen also will work in the run game.

Zyer Belle, Moss and senior TJ Farmer will run out first as receivers, with junior Xavier Anderson, sophomore KJ Stanley, and Malik Livingston also working in the rotation.

Success offensively starts up front and the Chiefs will be led this season by three starting seniors – center Hayden Best, right guard Mario Crawford, and Black at left guard. Sophomore JoVonn Willard starts at left tackle and junior Stephon Edge is the starting right tackle.

Sophomores Turner Warren and Braxton Farmer are backups at tackle while Francois and McGillicuddy are backup guards. Willard is listed as the backup center.

 Perhaps the biggest strength for the Chiefs is their kicking game, paced by junior Zane Smith. Smith, a Division I prospect, has 19 career field goals and 89 extra points in two seasons. He also averaged 37.3 yards per punt a year ago.

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