PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry coach David Diamont worried how his team would start its contest against South Stokes after 20 days of waiting.
However, after an early bye week and some untimely inclement weather, Diamont’s squad continued to impress in the 2015 season with a dominating 54-6 victory over the Sauras.
East Surry (5-0) blitzed its opponent right from the start, scoring 34 points in the first quarter and leaving no doubts that it was ready to get back on the field.
“I was not comfortable with our schedule,” Diamont said. “We hadn’t played in what seemed like a year. I really didn’t know how we would react. But in the end I couldn’t judge my team that way, because we obviously reacted really well.”
Senior Blake Marion was especially ready to get back into game action. After East Surry took a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass from Tyler Smith to Jack Shabdue, Marion took his next two touches of the football to the end zone.
His first touchdown was on a 58-yard punt return. Marion caught the punt on a bounce and started up the middle before breaking two tackles and bouncing it to the right sideline for the score. It was the first punt return touchdown of Marion’s career.
On the ensuing Saura drive, South Stokes quarterback Jonah Moorefield tried to find a receiver in the flat on a third-and-16, but Marion read the play and jumped the route for an interception and 37-yard return for a touchdown.
“I’m just trying to do as much as I can to contribute to the team,” Marion said. “Whether that’s on offense, defense or special teams, I want to do whatever I can.”
East Surry led 21-0 and its offense had only been on the field for one drive.
That Cardinal offense still had plenty of time to shine in the first quarter, though. After a quick three-and-out for the Sauras, East Surry marched down the field and scored in just four plays.
Smith scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the year on a 32-yard scamper down the left sideline, giving the Cardinals a 28-0 lead.
Joey Ray capped off an explosive first quarter with three seconds remaining. Ray bulldozed his way up the middle for a six-yard rushing touchdown. A missed extra point kept the lead at 34-0.
The second quarter wasn’t as electrifying on the scoreboard for East Surry, but the Cardinals still dominated in all phases of the game.
Smith gave East Surry a 41-0 lead with 8:58 remaining in the half on a five-yard swing pass to Ray.
It was another prolific night for the senior quarterback. The touchdown run was his lone rush of the night, but he also finished 8-8 in the air with 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith and the rest of the East Surry starters hardly played from this point forward, paving the way for a huge night from backup running back Eddie Scott. The senior finished with nine carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns, scoring once in each half.
The East Surry defense received solid performances from linebacker Staymon Johnson and defensive lineman Tony Speaks. The Cardinals only yielded one first down in the first half, and South Stokes’ lone touchdown came with many of the starters resting in the third quarter.
“It felt good to get back out there and get some live snaps,” Johnson said. “On defense, I saw a lot of energy. I felt like our defensive line played really well, and we had a lot of subs come in and play really well.”
East Surry begins its quest for a second straight title in the Northwest Conference on Oct. 9 against Walkertown. The Wolfpack is 3-4 overall, but already 2-0 in the conference and looking like a prime contender this season.
“This next week is huge for us,” Marion said. “Walkertown is a conference rival for us and some really good competition, so we will be ready.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16