DOBSON — The Surry Central offense was by no means perfect in its Friday night matchup with Elkin, but whenever the Golden Eagles needed a big play, quarterback Chandler Johnson supplied it.
After struggling in the first three games of the season it was Johnson’s two passing touchdowns in the first half that catapulted the Golden Eagles to their first victory of the season with a 21-6 win over the Elks.
“I love that kid to death,” said Monty Southern, Surry Central’s coach. “I’ve watched him play quarterback since he was a little kid, and I’ve got a ton of confidence in him.”
Surry Central went three-and-out in its first drive and punted the ball away to Elkin. The Golden Eagles gave up some yards during the Elks’ opening series, but a defensive stop on fourth-and-1 from the 50-yard line gave the Golden Eagles some life in the first quarter.
On the ensuing Surry Central drive, the Eagles marched deep into Elkin territory before a sack set them up with fourth-and-7 from the 24-yard line.
Wide receiver Jed Kidd faked a curl route and darted up field towards the end zone. Despite a holding penalty on the Elkin defender guarding Kidd, Johnson lofted a touchdown pass to his open receiver for a 7-0 lead with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter.
Surry Central’s offense went on a run of turnovers from this point until late in the first half. A blocked punt and two fumbles provided the Elks with plenty of opportunities, but the Eagles held Elkin to just six points.
Elkin did manage to score a touchdown after its punt block. The drive started from the Surry Central 9-yard line, but the Elks moved backwards before a Beau Burgess connected with Jaylen Mayes on a 17-yard touchdown. A missed extra point made the score 7-6 with 8:20 to play in the first half.
The next two Eagle drives resulted in the two fumbles, one from Johnson and one from Noah Wilmoth. However, Surry Central’s defense rose to the occasion and forced a missed field goal and a three-and-out to keep the game at 7-6.
On their final drive of the first half, a 35-yard run from Wilmoth set the Eagles up with the ball inside the Elkin red zone.
The next snap was high and mishandled by Johnson, but the quarterback eventually gathered himself, made three Elkin defenders miss in the backfield and found Wilmoth wide open in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 14-6 lead at the break.
“I knew I had to get something done,” Johnson said. “I just picked the ball up and looked to make something happen.”
The second half was a defensive affair with neither team threatening until the fourth quarter. Elkin’s first two drives of the half resulted in six plays and two punts.
One of the reasons for Surry Central’s success on defense was an attacking defensive line that constantly found itself in the Elks’ backfield. The Eagles only allowed 32 rushing yards on the evening.
“This week I think the kids understood the game plan a little more,” Southern said. “With defense it always starts up front, and if you control the line of scrimmage you have a good chance. We did that tonight.”
Elkin’s best opportunity to tie the game came with 10 minutes left in the final period.
The Eagles had their backs against the wall on fourth down at their own 7-yard line, but Burgess’ pass to Carter Jackson was just a bit too far as the receiver couldn’t keep his feet in bounds, and Surry Central held on to its lead.
Coach Southern’s team put the nail in the coffin with 24 seconds remaining on a five-yard touchdown run from Eric Ramirez to give Surry Central a 21-6 lead.
The junior running back finished with 104 yards on 22 carries and had a lot of success in the second half.
The Eagles will look to keep the momentum from their first win going next week in a home game against the Mount Airy Granite Bears.
In other local news, East Surry beat West Stokes 42-28. For more game coverage, see the Sunday edition of The News.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16