SALISBURY — When it rains, it pours, and on Friday night the Surry Central football team couldn’t find a way to minimize its mistakes against the Salisbury Hornets.
In wet conditions, the Golden Eagles coughed up six turnovers and were sloppy in all three phases of the game in a 31-6 loss.
“We felt like last week was our best game of the season, and then tonight we took a step back,” coach Monty Southern said. “But you know, the bottom line is they were more physical than us.”
Surry Central (2-4) was prolific in the run game both offensively and defensively last week against Mount Airy, but on Friday, the Golden Eagles could never find a rhythm.
The normally reliable Eric Ramirez struggled through 10 carries for 25 yards before exiting the game in the third quarter with what Southern called a probable concussion. It was his lowest rushing total of the season.
On the flip side, Salisbury only threw two passes all night. The Hornets committed to the run and had a ton of success.
Antwond Glenn and Willie Clark gashed the Golden Eagles and rushed for 178 yards on 32 carries for Salisbury.
“Salisbury did a couple things that we hadn’t seen much of on tape,” Southern said. “We’d seen them a lot in the gun, but they got under tonight and really powered us. They’re front four outweighed our defensive line and it wore on us.”
Surry Central hung around throughout much of the first half, but a timely turnover late in the second quarter was the beginning of the Golden Eagles’ demise.
A bad snap deep inside Surry Central territory turned into a fumble recovered by the Hornets. Salisbury scored just two plays later on a four-yard touchdown run from Glenn to make it 7-0 with 2:53 remaining in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Hornets recovered a pooch kick and once again capitalized on a Golden Eagle special teams’ miscue. This time though, the Surry Central defense made the necessary stops to keep the score at 7-0 going into halftime.
However, Salisbury busted the game open in the second half, and the Hornets got the scoring started thanks to another bad snap by Surry Central.
On the third play of the second half, quarterback Chandler Johnson couldn’t handle a high snap, and Salisbury took over at the Surry Central 26-yard line. On third-and-two, Glenn cashed in on his second touchdown of the night, this time from seven yards out.
The Golden Eagles got their lone score on the next drive. Johnson faked a handoff and launched a long pass down the right sideline and perfectly into the arms of Martin Palacios, who turned it up field for an 80-yard touchdown.
Surry Central missed the extra point and Salisbury held a 14-6 lead.
The Hornets did a good job squashing any momentum the Eagles had from this long touchdown. Salisbury marched down the field on its ensuing drive, using six rushes and a Surry Central pass interference penalty to get into the end zone and take a 21-6 lead.
The Eagles got what seemed like an important goal line stop on Salisbury’s next drive late in the third quarter, but the Hornet defense rose to the occasion and forced a safety to take a 23-6 lead.
It was tough sledding for the Surry Central offense from this point forward, as it had to start passing the football with the hopes of making up the deficit.
Johnson failed to complete another pass after his long touchdown to Palacios and also threw two interceptions. These passing struggles have plagued Surry Central and its ability to come from behind.
In the Golden Eagles’ two wins, they’ve never trailed. But in their two losses, they’ve never held the lead, and haven’t been able to keep the games close as they wear into the later stages of the second half.
“It’s obviously easier to play when you’re ahead,” Southern said. “But we got to make sure the kids understand we have to keep fighting.”
Salisbury put an exclamation point on the win with a 35-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Hornets went for two on the final score of the night to make it 31-6.
Surry Central will be off next week before opening play in the Western Piedmont Conference at Carver High School.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16