Coach Danny Lyons of North Surry said his defense took a lot of heat after giving up 50 points in a season-opening loss to Ashe County.
What a difference a week makes.
The Greyhounds allowed just one touchdown, had three interceptions and held Elkin to just two rushing yards in a 31-6 win on Friday night at Charles Atkins Stadium.
Mobile quarterback Josh Strickland of Elkin was 15 of 31 passing for 202 yards, but he faced heavy pressure from a blitzing Greyhounds defense for most of the game. Strickland had one touchdown and threw three picks.
“Our defense was much-maligned after last week,” Lyons said. “(Defensive coordinator Patrick) Taylor does a fantastic job. He made great adjustments this week, and our kids believed in what we did. I’m really proud of our defense.”
The Buckin’ Elks first-half possessions ended with a three-and-out, punt, and two interceptions (Colton Acord and Tanner Hodgin). Elkin picked up nearly half of its passing yards for the night on one pass play — an 81-yard catch and run by Jamiles Hayes in the third quarter that made it 14-6 Hounds.
The score could have been a whole lot worse than that.
North had a first half touchdown pass from quarterback Nolan Stanley to Hodgin brought back because of a holding penalty. The Greyhounds had a field goal blocked, and saw another drive into the red zone end with a turnover on downs. Both teams had their share of penalties — with seven flags (75 yards) for the Elks, and eight flags (50 yards) for the Hounds.
But Elkin had its own struggles on offense against the Hounds, who held the Buckin’ Elks to 18 carries for two yards. In last week’s 50-42 loss at Ashe County, North allowed 458 yards of total offense, and a six-touchdown performance from Husky QB Connor Bowers.
“Our defensive line is the key to our defense,” Lyons said. “Everybody looked at secondary because they kept ketting burned, but the defensive line didn’t play well. When they dominate the line, we can be very good defensively.”
Meanwhile, North was carving up Elkin’s defense on the ground and through the air.
Senior running back and preseason all-state selection Dakota Goss rushed 25 times for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way. Stanley had seven carries for 71 yards. Corbin Bullins, Bryan Martin and Chase Summers also saw time in the backfield. North finished with more than 400 yards rushing.
“(Dakota) told me ‘Coach, I’ll get you 300 (yards) this week,’” Lyons said. “I said, ‘We’re probably going to give you the opportunity to.’ He had some amazing runs tonight. Our offensive line play was a lot better than last week, even though we put up a few points.”
Stanley completed 4 of 12 passes for 95 yards with a touchdown and an interception off a third-quarter throw that deflected off the hands of his intended receiver.
North (1-1) shifts its attention to Friday’s rivalry game against East Surry in Pilot Mountain. The Cardinals (1-1) fell to Starmount 38-15 on Friday.