East Surry shut down North Surry’s offense for an impressive 35-6 win.
The Greyhounds were able to gain some yardage, but couldn’t finish drives as the Cardinals were able to bend but not break.
In the meantime, East quarterback John Dickenson and running back Lucas Koons were able to give enough offense for East to steadily build its lead.
On their first drive, the Cardinals marched down the field and capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Koons.
After East Surry posted a score, the Hounds looked ready to answer.
Quarterback Jacob Patten hit Ryan March on a long pass down the left side to reach the 25-yard line. However, an unsportsmanlike penalty after the play moved the ball back to the 40.
Dakota Goss, filling in at running back for the injured Blaze Acord, ran to the 32-yard line for second down and short.
Patten hit George Rumplasch with a short pass, and the fullback barreled to the 23-yard line for another first down.
Goss ran to the 11-yard line for another first down, but then the drive stalled. On fourth down at the 3-yard line, the Hounds fumbled, and East recovered.
North stopped the Cards for a three-and-out. On the punt, Alex Edwards returned the ball all the way to the 12-yard line. However, offsetting penalties on both teams forced a second punt.
On this second try, Edwards let the ball bounce, and it rolled all the way back to the 47-yard line.
North couldn’t move the ball and punted it back.
Now in the second quarter, Dickenson hit Dylan Slate with a pass out to the 39-yard line.
As Slate was fighting for more yards, the Hounds were able to pull the ball free. However, the referees were blowing their whistles to call the play dead.
The home crowd booed as the head official ruled the forward progress stopped.
Later in the drive, two false starts gave East Surry first down and 20 yards to go.
Dickenson heaved a long pass down the left sideline that March leaped up and intercepted.
However, the officials called pass interference, which gave East the ball at the spot of the foul and a first down and five yards to go.
The Hounds’ defense clamped down and forced a fourth down, but rather than punt, the Cards went to Koons for an 11-yard run for a first down.
From the 24-yard line, Dickenson went right on a keeper and scored a touchdown for a 14-0 lead with 4:28 left in the half.
Corbin Bullins returned a deep kickoff out to the 40-yard line, but Patten was intercepted by Madison Chilton, who rumbled to the 18-yard line.
East Surry moved to the 4-yard line before stalling and settled for a 20-yard field goal from Andrew Kozlow. That made it 17-0 with 1:07 left.
Dakota Goss took the kickoff up the middle, then broke loose into the left side for a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. When the extra point missed, that made it 17-6 going into the halftime.
“I felt like in the first half we competed really hard,” said North Coach Danny Lyons. “We played them pretty daggone evenly in the first half. … But every time we got momentum, we gave it back to them.”
Despite being down 11 points, the Hounds were feeling good about their chances at halftime, Lyons said.
“Hats off to East Surry,” he said. The coaching staff has done an excellent job with that team. The Cardinals believe they can win. They looked good on offense and defense, and they should win a lot more games this season.
To start the second half, the Cards moved into Hounds’ territory before punting. Madison Chilton angled a punt out of bounds at the 12-yard line.
Lyons tried shaking things up by putting in backup quarterback Hunter Snow. However, Snow fumbled on the first snap, giving the ball to the Cards at the 22-yard line.
With the short field, Dickenson capped the drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Jack Edwards just inside the back line of the end zone. The kick was wide, making it 23-7 with 7:25 in the third quarter.
North Surry couldn’t pick up a first down on the next drive and punted.
After a penalty, the Cards started on North’s 39-yard line.
On third down, Dickenson found Slate over the middle at the 10, and the receiver weaved into the end zone for a 41-yard score. That made it 29-6 with 3:04 left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, the Cards would add an insurance score. J.T. Lichtenberger took a fullback dive into the end zone from about 20 yards out.
“North Surry is the best team we’ve played against so far,” said Coach David Diamont. They are physical and players on both sides are going to be sore the next morning, he said.
North is big and strong, but yet they have good skill players, too, Diamont said.
“We knew we had to play very well to beat them, and we did,” he said.
The 3-0 record is the best start East Surry has had since beginning 10-0 in the 2009 season.
“This is a good group of kids who like each other, play hard for each other and every time we go out, they surprise me,” said Diamont, who also praised his coaching staff.
“Quarterback John Dickenson played well tonight,” he said. The team needed his feet and his arm after North Surry made some adjustments and started shutting down the running game.
The receivers block like crazy even though they don’t get a lot of chances to make catches, he added.
Diamont didn’t have East Surry stats available at press time.
For North Surry, Goss had 15 carries for 61 yards and the only touchdown on the kickoff return.
Jacob Patten was 6-10 for 72 yards and one interception.
March caught two passes for 38 yards, Alex Edwards one for 15, Nolan Stanley one for 10 and Rumplasch one for nine.
“My guys have endured more in three weeks than any team I’ve been around,” said Lyons. The team has handled the adversity well.
Star running back Blaze Acord was on the sideline with his arm in a sling from a broken collarbone. Stud defensive tackle Jordan DeHart was also on the sideline with a big brace on his knee, while Bryan Martin has been out since the first game with a neck injury.
Lyons said he isn’t using the injuries as an excuse; East Surry just beat his team.
“I love my football team,” Lyons said. “We’re not playing very smart right now — that’s my fault — but I love how hard they play.”
The Hounds travel to Mount Airy next week, so Lyons knows he won’t have to worry about motivating his squad for that game.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals travel to West Stokes.