And then there was one.
In the battle of the unbeatens, North Surry knocked off South Stokes 23-20 on homecoming night.
Both teams came into the night with records of 5-0, 2-0 in the Northwest Conference. The Greyhounds moved to 6-0 and remain tied with Mount Airy for first place in the league at 3-0.
Halfback Blaze Acord rushed for more than 250 yards, while the Hounds’ defense stifled the Sauras in the pivotal third quarter.
South Stokes led 12-9 at the break and got the ball first for the second half.
In three possessions in the third quarter, the Sauras had two three-and-outs and a lost fumble.
By the start of the fourth, the Hounds were up 16-12 and kept the lead the rest of the way.
“It was a huge third quarter,” said Coach Danny Lyons. “The defense kept us in the game until our offense got going.”
Then when the Hounds were grinding out first downs on the ground, South Stokes couldn’t get back on the field. Time of possession was heavily in favor of the home team.
Jacquan Martin is one of the scariest-looking players around, said Lyons after watching tape of the Sauras’ games. To hold a great back like that to just two good runs and a total of 83 yards speaks to the effort of the defense, he said.
“This is my happiest day as a coach,” he said. “We beat a team that a lot of people didn’t think we could.”
At the start of the game, North Surry’s Acord broke off a 62-yard touchdown run on the second play. However, a holding call took that score off the board.
In the second quarter, Acord would return a kickoff to the Sauras’ 25-yard line, but that, too, was called back by a penalty.
In the third quarter, a 26-yard pass play from Austin Handy to Ryan March was wiped off the board by holding.
The Hounds also had a first-and-goal at the 10 that turned into first-and-goal at the 27 and weren’t able to score.
In the meantime, South Stokes recovered a fumble at midfield in the first quarter. Two plays later, quarterback J.J. Davis threw a short pass to fullback Zack Singleton that turned into a 59-yard touchdown. With a missed kick, the score was 6-0 with six minutes left in the first.
The Hounds had a drive stall at the 41-yard line, but punter Austin Barker pinned South Stokes at its own 2-yard line.
The defense held and forced a punt. The snap to the punter sailed out of the end zone for a safety to cut the margin to 6-2 at the start of the second quarter.
Acord was featured heavily on the next drive as the Hounds chewed up five minutes of time and overcame two penalties to get a 3-yard TD. With a Carlos Flores kick, the home team led 9-6.
The Sauras had their best drive of the night on the next possession. They picked up three first downs before Martin broke off a 29-yard TD run with 3:30 left. Another kick missed to make it 12-9.
The Hounds moved the ball into the red zone before penalties moved them back. Then as the clock expired, Flores just missed a 32-yard field goal to the left.
After the lengthy halftime for homecoming court, the Hounds steadily moved the ball 64 yards before a 1-yard TD run from Acord put the team up 16-12 with 6:24 left in the third.
Neither team scored the rest of the quarter. Then after a South Stokes punt, the Hounds drove down the field for an insurance TD to go up 23-12.
The Sauras didn’t have a first down in the second half until the Hounds gave them three via flags midway through the fourth quarter.
The third one came on a play that Lyons thought was clean. George Rumplasch appeared to have clinched the game with an interception, but the defender was called for pass interference before catching the ball.
George played a tough game, said Lyons. He went both ways much of the night and was like an extra offensive lineman on those running plays, the coach said.
The coach also thanked the packed home crowd for the great atmosphere.
After the three penalties moved the Sauras into Hound territory, Martin broke lose for the second time on a 28-yard run with 5:43 left. With a two-point conversion, the Sauras were within a field goal.
Lyons showed his guys in the final quarter, twice going for first down on a fourth-down play. North kept moving the chains and was able to run out the clock down at the Sauras’ 23-yard line.
Acord finished with 43 carries for 253 yards, with 25 of those carries in the second half.
Fullback Shawn DeHart had three carries for 40 yards and one catch for 48 yards.
Handy completed 3-6 passes for 69 yards as the Hounds put up nearly 400 yards on the night.
For South Stokes, Davis finished 2-6 passing and ran six times for only 12 yards. Martin had 17 carries for 83 yards.
The Sauras had only 41 yards of offense in the second half, and Martin had 28 of that on one run.
Now the Greyhounds can turn their eyes toward a big rivalry game next week at Mount Airy.
Reach Jeff Linville at email@example.com or at 719-1920.