DOBSON — Unlike the Philadelphia Eagles, who earned their fifth win of the season against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, the Surry Central Golden Eagles have struggled this football season. A back-and-forth game turned into a one-sided affair to give the Forbush Falcons their third win of the season. Surry Central and Forbush traded possessions in the first half, with Forbush holding a slim 14-7 lead at halftime. Strong second half play from the Falcons lifted them to a 24-7 victory over the Eagles.
Forbush (3-5, 2-1 Western Piedmont Athletic Conference) received the opening kickoff. Falcon quarterback Blake Winebarger didn’t even need to move the chains, handing the ball to Derek Jayson to take 65 yards for a touchdown. Forbush lead 7-0 with only three minutes off the clock.
The Eagles’ touchdown drive began with an interception of Winebarger’s pass by Austin Mills. When Central’s drive appeared to be a three-and-out, the Eagles executed a cunning fake punt that Matthew White ran in to tie the game at 7-7.
The team’s traded three-and-outs, unable to break through the opposing defense. Dillon Johnson, Zane Johnson, and Jayson were the primary backs for Forbush, while Martin Palacios, Ryan Martin, and White carried the ball for Central (1-7, 0-2 WPAC). Despite struggling to move the ball effectively in the first quarter, each of these backs would have a significant impact in the game to come.
Surry Central broke its first-down dry spell as time expired in the first quarter. Palacios acted as the tailback and moved the chains for the Eagles on the ground, while White caught passes from the returning Maisen Holt, who had been out with a concussion since late September. The Falcon defense made yet another stop, though, forcing Palacios to punt back to Forbush.
Standing at 6’2” and weighing in around 250 pounds, Zane Johnson is not someone I would want running at me. The senior plowed through Eagle defenders for a first down, with a personal foul on the home team putting the Falcons beyond midfield early in their possession.
Forbush continued to dominate the ground game with runs from both Dillon and Zane Johnson to get first down after first down. But it was Jayson with another touchdown run that put the Falcons back in the lead 14-7.
The Eagles decided to emulate their opponents with huge runs from Mills and Palacios. A facemask called on Palacios’ run put the Eagles just outside the red zone just two plays into the drive. Unlike Forbush’s previous drive, however, Central was forced into a fourth-and-5 situation. Palacios’ run brought the Eagles close to a first down, but not quite close enough.
The ensuing Forbush possession ran a lot of time off the clock in the second quarter. Winebarger passed to Jayson and the tight end Tanner Gregory to move the chains. The Falcons were faced with a fourth down situation early on, but converted to continue the drive. When the Falcons approached the red zone, they kept the ball on the ground and were contained by the Eagles’ defense. Two plays resulted in a loss of yards for the Falcons, forcing a punt on fourth-and-22.
Surry Central took the punt inside its own 10-yard line and got off three plays with little time off the clock but failed to get a first down. The ball returned to Forbush, who took a knee to end the half.
Martin must have recharged his batteries during halftime, because he just ran and ran to start the half. The junior put the team on his back and carried them down the field. A fourth down couldn’t stop the Eagles, executing another successful fake punt. Martin continued to move the chains but was finally faced with another fourth down. With only two yards to go, a run by White was held up at the line of scrimmage for a turnover-on-downs.
Surry Central had trouble setting up its defense to start the Forbush drive, causing coach Monty Southern to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Winebarger completed a 45-yard pass to a wide open Landreth Cockerham. Cockerham was headed for the end zone before being tripped up by a lone Central safety. The Falcons turned to Jayson for another touchdown run and succeeded before the play was called back due to a hold by the offense. Forbush went back to Jayson on the next play with a 20-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 21-7.
The Eagles’ next possession needed to end with a trip to the end zone to keep them in the game. However, the opposite occurred. A holding penalty and sack set up an unconquerable third-and-29. The Eagles punted back to the Falcons with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Bad luck continued to haunt the Eagles on this Friday the 13th. A big run by Jayson not only put the Falcons in the red zone, but resulted in Palacios hobbling off the field clutching his knee. Central was able to prevent any additional progress, and the Falcons were held to a 24-yard field goal from Josh Clark to make it a 24-7 game at the end of the third quarter.
Things looked promising for the Eagles when Holt completed his first pass to White for a first down. Consecutive sacks by Forbush sent the home team back and forced a punt on fourth-and-29. The punt receiver touched the ball but didn’t make a catch, allowing Gabe Simmons to hop on it for the Eagles. However, the officials said that the receiver was touched when calling for a fair catch, giving the ball back to Forbush.
The Falcons ran the clock down by keeping the ball on the ground and moving the chains. Forbush even took a page from Surry Central’s book and executed a fake punt for a first down. Although they eventually had to punt the ball back to the Eagles, there was just too little time on the clock to make a difference. What started out as a promising game for Central didn’t go its way in the end.
Conference play continues Forbush on the road against North Surry and Surry Central traveling to West Stokes.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith