WINSTON-SALEM — It wasn’t too long ago that Winston-Salem Prep rolled up 72 points in a high school football game.
Apparently, the East Surry Cardinals weren’t impressed.
The state’s fifth-ranked 1-A team put the breaks on the Phoenix’ high-powered offense Friday night, rolling to a 42-0 victory in which the team pulled in its horns early in the third quarter and played out the rest of the contest under a continuous clock. It was the third win for the Cards in an eight-day span.
“I think our kids were tired, I know I was,” said coach David Diamont, whose team defeated a tough Walkertown team on the road on Oct. 16, then turned around and hammered Atkins 61-6 on Monday before being able to prepare for the Phoenix.
“Our kids are starting to develop a lot of pride in what they’re doing. They play hard all of the time.”
East Surry (8-0, 3-0 Northwest Conference) picked up just 247 yards of total offense on the night, but didn’t need more, thanks to frequently being put into very favorable field position by their defense. The defense actually scored all of the points that the Cardinals needed to win this one on a 57-yard fumble return by senior lineman Tony Speaks. That was just one of five turnovers that East Surry forced. Andrew Hooker and Shawn Creed each had an interception, and two other fumbles were caused and recovered by the Cardinals. Chris Cosgrove and Corben Kiser forced them, and Demidrick Hargrave and Shawn Creed recovered them.
“Our defense has really improved,” Diamont said. “Coach (Randy) Marion has done a great job of mixing up our defensive fronts, depending on who we’re playing and what they do.”
East Surry led 35-0 at halftime. Sophomore Joey Ray scored two of his four touchdowns in the first quarter, on runs of two and then one yard, respectively.
In the second quarter, he extended the team’s lead to 21-0 on a nine-yard run, and then quarterback Tyler Smith got in on the fun, throwing a 55-yard strike to Creed to make it 28-0.
Prep was just trying to run out the first-half clock near midfield when it coughed up the ball again, allowing Speaks to take it to the house.
Ray scored on a one-yard run early in the third quarter to complete the scoring.
Ray had a team-high 61 yards on 14 carries. Smith completed seven of 13 passes for 137 yards. Creed snagged four of those passes for 108 yards to lead the team’s receiving corps.
Cosgrove and Blake Marion led the team with seven tackles each. Staymon Johnson and Creed each had six.
“Staymon and Shawn have really gotten better as linebackers,” said Diamont.
The coach was pleased with his team’s performance despite a very short week of practice, but will be glad to get back into a more normal routine.
“We really cut back on practice this week,” he said. “This has been a very strange last three weeks. We haven’t had a normal week of practice since we played West Stokes (on Sept. 11).”
The Cardinals return home this Friday night to play host to Bishop McGuinness (3-6, 1-3). It could be another big day for East Surry. The Villains have allowed 142 points in their past three games, including the 72 to Prep on Oct. 2.
The game will also be East Surry’s Homecoming game, that event having been rescheduled due to the bad weather during September.
Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.