KING — East Surry kept its high-octane offense churning for a 42-28 win over rival West Stokes Friday night.
The Cardinals have now scored 166 points in four games, an average of 41.5 points per game.
In 2011, West Stokes went 16-0 and won the 2A state title. The Cards struggled mightily and finished at 2-9.
The Cards gave up 27 points a game and scored just 15.5. Some might have quietly wondered if the game had passed by veteran head coach. However, the team was missing seven starters from that unit.
The next year, East Surry improved to 6-7 and lost to West Stokes by just four points.
Since that time, the Cards have gone 25-5, an .833 win rate. And now they have a two-game winning streak on the Wildcats.
“We’ve worked hard, that’s for sure,” said coach David Diamont. “We have a veteran coaching staff, and we’ve gotten a good class one after another.”
Sometimes the classes fit well together, said Diamont. That is key, pieces that fit together.
One of those key pieces is QB Tyler Smith, who had another good game against the Wildcats, accounting for all six touchdowns.
Smith went 14-24 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns — both to 6-foot-4 tight end Charlie Freeman. Smith also had 11 carries for 54 yards, including three touchdowns.
As if that weren’t enough, Smith also picked off two passes on defense, one of which he returned for a TD.
From the outset, the offense was rolling. East took the opening kickoff and marched 64 yards, capped by a 1-yard sneak from Smith to make it 7-0.
West Stokes answered with a scoring drive of its own to make it 7-7.
Devon Goble, who was a perfect 6-6 on extra points, missed a long field goal try at the end of the first quarter.
West Stokes followed that up with an 84-yard TD drive to go ahead 14-7.
East Surry responded, including a long scramble from Smith on third-and-10 to keep the drive going.
The offense did “a fabulous job” keeping drives going on third and fourth downs, said Diamont. East was 5-5 on fourth-down tries, he noted, and held a lopsided advantage in time of possession.
East Surry ran about 75 plays to West Stokes’ 40, the coach said.
The Cards finished the tying drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Freeman with five minutes left in the half.
West Stokes tried a fake punt and turned the ball over on downs. Unfortunately, the Cards gave the ball back with a fumble at the 6-yard line.
Rather than run out the clock with 1:15 left, the Wildcats tried to get one more score.
Smith picked off Alex Manley and ran it back 32 yards for a 21-14 lead.
In the third quarter, West went for it on fourth-and-6 and turned it over on downs.
The Cards converted a key first down on third-and-14 with Smith hitting Kim Taylor. That led to another 1-yard sneak from Smith to make it 28-14.
At that point, the Cards had scored 21 straight points.
The Wildcats answered with a TD drive to cut the lead to 28-21 with less than minute left in the third.
East drove right back at West. Smith broke a tackle on a QB keeper and went 15 yards for the score to go up 35-21.
Smith picked off Manley again, and that turned into a scoring drive with Freeman getting his second TD catch for a 42-21 lead.
West drove down in the final three minutes and scored to make the final margin closer.
East Surry finished with 400 yards of total offense. The team had 50 rushes for 214 yards and Smith’s 186 through the air.
Running back Joey Ray led the team with 33 carries for 134 yards. Smith had 54 yards, Ty Brooks two carries for 17 yards, and Staymon Johnson and Taylor had a few short carries.
Receiving, Blake Marion had five catches for 70 yards, Taylor three for 48 yards, Shawn Creed two for 33 yards.
As for the defense, Diamont said, “I thought that the entire defense played its best game so far.”
West Stokes has a potent offense and came in averaging 33 points a game. Even though West scored 28 points, Diamont believed his defense did plenty to slow the Cats down.
The Cardinals have a bye week coming up, then they host Atkins in the first Northwest Conference game. That will also be homecoming, so there should be a good turnout, noted Diamont.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692 and on Twitter @SportsDudeJeff.