Week one of the football season saw all three home teams come away with wins.
The only loss for the four local schools was Surry Central at East Surry, which debuted a potent passing attack.
Senior quarterback Tyler Smith was a perfect 8-8 passing with three TDs in the first half.
After East Surry honored the late Gage Edwards before the game, the Cardinals “came out on fire,” according to coach David Diamont.
He said he was very impressed with his senior leaders and the energy the whole team showed.
Obviously, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown got momentum on the home team’s side, said Diamont, but the offense followed that up nicely.
For the offense to succeed, lots of things have to go well, like the line giving the QB time to throw and the receivers adjusting to the defense.
Once he looked at the tape later, Diamont wasn’t quite as happy. He saw several things that needed correcting. This week was spent coaching up the boys on these areas in preparation for a perennially tough Starmount team.
“Last year we went down there, and they just kicked us right in the teeth from the very beginning to the very end,” Diamont said of the Rams. He said he has tried to impress upon the players that this will be a very physical game.
Like a lot of football fans, Diamont said he is interested in the outcome between Mount Airy and West Stokes.
Bear coach Kelly Holder said the Wildcats have a good combination of players with size and strength and guys who are athletes.
After watching the first game, Holder said, “We’ve got to make sure we’re moving to the right places.” With a lot of youth at several skill positions, Holder said mental errors were common, as one would expect at the start of the season.
The passing game isn’t polished yet, he admitted. The Bears only attempted seven passes, but did complete four of them.
Holder still wants to be a running team, but wants to see the passing attack be efficient so that when the team needs to throw the ball, the players are in position to be successful.
The ability to both run and pass is what makes West Stokes dangerous, he said. The Cats’ quarterback, Alex Manley, is one of the best the Bears will face this season. In his career, Manley has passed for 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000.
One significant injury of note is running back Sean Evans. After just four carries in the first quarter, Evans took a blow to the knee and left the game. While he was later seen walking around the sideline, tests this week revealed a tear of his ACL.
Orion Ramey took Evans’ place and did well, rushing for 66 yards and a TD.
On defense, Holder believes his front eight is pretty solid, but there is a lot of inexperience in the secondary.
Defensive back Cordell France has been working out, but hasn’t had a doctor’s visit yet to clear him for games.
While Mount Airy had only seven passing attempts, North Surry had 47 throws in week one as the Greyhounds showed off their new air raid offense.
The Hounds ran 79 total plays, noted coach Danny Lyons; 47 passes and 28 rushes and four sacks.
All four of those sacks came in the first half, he pointed out.
The two tackles realized what they did that allowed the sacks and made the adjustments themselves before the coaches even had to say anything, said Lyons. Then the line didn’t allow a single sack in the second half.
Avery Smith completed 24 passes for 310 yards. After an early interception, he bounced back with two TD passes.
The Hounds host an Elkin team that lost 28-7 to Forbush.
Having seen footage of the game, Lyons said quarterback Jackson Carter and lineman Dillon Wood looked good. That didn’t surprise him as both are sons of coaches. Dillon is the son of current coach Scott Wood, and Jackson’s dad is former coach Scott Carter.
Lyons said he expects that Elkin will play a lot better than week one, but he also expects his team to play better, too.
Surry Central opened the season at East Surry, and week two doesn’t get much easier.
The Golden Eagles host East Wilkes, which stomped South Stokes 34-0 in the opener.
While the Cards’ surprising aerial attack caught the Eagles off-guard, coach Monty Southern said he saw some good things out of his run defense.
In the second half, East Surry ran the ball most of the time, and Southern said the defensive line played well as a unit. He believes this can be an area of strength for the team as the season progresses.
As for the offense, lost amid the defeat to East Surry was an outstanding effort by running back Eric Ramirez.
Not only did Ramirez score the tying touchdown in the first quarter, the back racked up 90 yards rushing with a 7.5 yards-per-carry average, the best of the four local schools.
“He did a really good job of reading his blocks,” said the coach. Coming into the season, Southern wondered how Eric would make the transition from JV to varsity, but it went quite well.
Eric went down with leg cramps, tried to come back, but he went down again and didn’t play in the second half, said the coach.
Southern emphasized diet and hydration this week, especially since Ramirez and some others pull double duty between offense and defense.
At halftime, Surry Central will honor the 50th anniversary of the 1965 state championship team.
Coach Howard Hayes and about three-fourths of the former players who were contacted are planning to attend, Southern said. Many of those players are well known in the area like former coach and official Jim Wilmoth, Bob White (whose daughter Sara White McMillen also is in the Surry County Sports Hall of Fame), Don Beane and farmer Eddie Johnson.
Individual offensive stat leaders
Passing (Min. 5 attempts) C ATT YDS C% TD INT RAT
Tyler Smith (ES) 8 8 146 1.00 3 0 177.1 Ian Holder (MTA) 4 7 54 .571 0 0 81.8 Avery Smith (NS) 24 47 310 .511 2 2 68.6 Chandler Johnson (SC) 3 17 41 .176 0 2 -22.2
Rushing (Min. 5 carries) CAR YDS AVG TD
Eric Ramirez (SC) 12 90 7.5 1 Andrew Smith (NS) 24 86 3.6 1 Joey Ray (ES) 10 73 7.3 0 Orion Ramey (MTA) 19 66 3.5 1 Eddie Scott (ES) 10 61 5.5 0 Chase Boone (SC) 13 54 4.2 1 Robert Brown (MTA) 10 28 2.8 0 Ian Holder (MTA) 7 24 3.4 1 Jackson Smith (MTA) 5 20 4.0 0 Noah Wilmoth (SC) 5 13 2.6 0 Jose Juarez (ES) 5 12 2.4 0 Avery Smith (NS) 9 6 0.7 0
Receiving (Min. 2 receptions) REC YDS AVG TD
Colton Accord (NS) 11 213 19.4 1 Blake Marion (ES) 4 97 24.3 2 Reid Stanley (NS) 9 64 7.1 1 Malik Frost (MTA) 2 43 21.5 0 Jed Kidd (SC) 2 37 18.5 0 Carson Todd (NS) 2 21 10.5 0 Kim Taylor (ES) 2 18 9 0
Staff reporter Jackson Fuller contributed to this report.