PILOT MOUNTAIN — A rough start in bad weather put East Surry behind the eight ball, and the Cardinals couldn’t catch up the rest of the night in a 42-21 loss.
East Surry (4-2 coming in) had the better record over Walkertown (3-4 coming in), but the home team’s first four possessions ended with a fumble, a three-and-out punt, a pick-six interception and a fumble.
Before the first quarter ended, the Cards were down 21-0. The two teams played evenly after that, but East Surry could never overcome that start on a night with a steady, light rain.
The home team had plenty of distractions. Not only did the rain play a part, the game was Homecoming night, with recognition of the Homecoming Court and the senior football players. In addition, the team held a moment of silence for Jimmy Hauser, the father of quarterback Trevor Hauser, who passed away unexpectedly this week.
Walkertown’s Denzel Hayes played a big part in the road team’s win. He made two touchdown catches and a touchdown-saving interception on defense.
East Surry received the opening kickoff and picked up a first down before fumbling the ball at its 45-yard line.
One play later, Walkertown’s Kendrick Campbell hit Hayes for a 40-yard TD pass with 8:11 left in the first.
East’s second drive didn’t go anywhere, but a great punt from Hauser bounced and rolled to the 21-yard line.
Campbell hit a receiver for a first down, but the Cards stripped the ball out and recovered on the visitors’ 40-yard line.
A run and a short pass gave East a first down at the 26, looking like they would tie the game.
Then Ire Stroud picked off a short pass and went 72 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 with 3:20 left in the quarter.
Just the first drive, East picked up a first down before fumbling on its own side of the field. Walkertown recovered at the 44-yard line.
The Wolfpack picked up a first down on an 11-yard pass to Hayes, then Teryan Cherry broke loose for a 33-yard touchdown run. With 2:05 left in the quarter, Walkertown led 21-0.
Walkertown didn’t kick deep all night, using squib kicks that were picked up be the up man, Austin Pardue. This one Pardue took to the 39-yard line. A five-yard run and then an offsides call gave a first down at the 49.
Hauser hit freshman Quincy Smith with a 26-yard pass to the Wolfpack 25. After getting backed up to the 30, East went for it on fourth-and-15. Hauser found Smith for a 30-yard touchdown. East trailed 21-7 with 9:50 in the half.
A long kick return gave Walkertown the ball at East’s 27. After a short run, Cherry went 23 yards for his second touchdown, making it 28-7 with 8:44 left.
Pardue returned the kick to the 45-yard line. A short pass and a Jose Juarez run moved the ball to the Walkertown 34.
Smith made a 10-yard catch for a first down.
Hauser fired a ball to the left side that cornerback Malik Conrad tried to intercept. The defender whiffed and let out an audible “aww” as Pardue pulled in the ball and ran up the left sideline for a 24-yard TD catch. That made it 28-14 with 6:28 left in the half.
On third and 8, Campbell found Hayes for 18 yards. Then a Cardinal defender was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Walkertown reached the red zone before going backward. On fourth down, Campbell threw a sky-high pass to the left corner of the end zone. Hayes pulled in the ball to score with 22.2 seconds left.
That could have been it for the half, but another short kickoff gave East the ball at midfield, then a 15-yard penalty on Walkertown moved it to the 35. East tried three times to score, but Conner Sheets couldn’t pull in the pass on the best shot, and the half ended.
After a length halftime for homecoming court, East Surry’s first possession of the second half went deep into Walkertown territory before stalling with a turnover on downs.
After Walkertown was forced to punt, East Surry quickly got back into Wolfpack land with a pass play. Austin Pardue tipped the ball, and teammate Quincy Smith took the catch to the 30-yard line.
On fourth down, East tried a deep ball toward the end zone that Hayes intercepted. Tackled at the 2-yard line, the play was as good as a downed punt.
Walkertown was still deep in its own end at the start of the fourth quarter. On the first snap, there was a bobbled snap, then the quarterback was knocked down. Linebacker Stephen Creech picked up the ball and dragged a tackler across the goal line. With 11:50 left, the score was 35-21.
The Wolfpack got a short kickoff because of a penalty against East Surry, then returned it to midfield.
The Cards looked to have a pass intercepted, but a flag for roughing the passer gave it back to Walkertown with 15 yards and a first down.
When Walkertown got into the red zone, East Surry twice stopped the ball at the 1-yard line. On third-and-goal, the visitors called a timeout with 9:46 left. Then the Pack tried a sneak, but East again held.
On fourth down, they went for it again and scored to make it 42-21 with 8:58 left. Impressively in the wet conditions, the Pack converted every extra point, with the sure-handed Hayes as the holder for Noel Castro Jr.
The Cards picked up a first down on the ground and another through the air with a pass to Pardue across midfield, but an intentional grounding call moved it back to second and about 25. On third-and-23, Smith picked up 13 yards on a pass to the left. On fourth-and-10, the Cards couldn’t complete a pass, giving it to Walkertown with 4:54 left.
The Cardinals fall to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the Northwest Conference.
Walkertown improved to 4-4 and 3-0 in the conference. That will go to 5-4 and 4-0 with a forfeit by North Stokes next week. The Vikings ran out of players and halted their season.
East Surry hosts Winston-Salem Prep next week.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.