PILOT MOUNTAIN — Midnight Madness represents new beginnings. Students will soon return to school a year older and (hopefully) another year wiser, new coaches and athletes finally get to show their stuff on the court/field/track, but more the anything Midnight Madness marks the genesis of another year of sports.
It’s all about the numbers for East Surry football, and with new beginnings comes loss. It’s been 248 days since the Cardinals officially took to the field, with East last seen in a third-round playoff loss against Murphy. The Cards graduated 13 seniors last season, and are also without legendary coach David Diamont. Diamont earned his 293rd career win before the end of last season.
This year’s crop of Cardinals includes 18 seniors, 18 juniors, 21 sophomores, and 13 freshmen. Among the new faces is head coach Trent Lowman. It’s been 102 days since Lowman was announced as the new coach for East Surry.
The Cardinals have won at least nine games in each of the past five seasons. East has a 24-3 record in the Northwest 1A Conference in that same span.
The only numbers that mattered to Lowman were the ones on the scoreboard as the Cardinal faithful counted down the seconds until the football season officially began. As the clock struck midnight, the players began took the field for the first of many times to come.
The 18 seniors for East Surry are Logan Ray, Jackson Vaughan, Andrew King, Seth Lowe, Nathan Sheets, AJ Bruton, Gunnar Jones, Alex Goins, Mitchell Edwards, Lee Foster, Hunter Blose, George Chilton, Dylan Sawyers, Sam Collins, Victor Bacho, Zach Goins, Kyle Vaillancourt, and Joseph Becker.
The East Surry defense will return a number of familiar faces. Edwards led the Cardinals in solo tackles (85), assisted tackles (39), and total tackles (124) last season. The Cards’ second, fourth, sixth, and seventh-leading tacklers are also returning to the field. Edwards, along with Ray and junior Quincy Smith, led the team in sacks last season as well. Smith tied for the most interceptions (4), and was followed by Bruton and Ray with two each.
On offense, both leading passers are returning juniors. Stephen Gosnell finished second on the team with 826 yards rushing in addition to his 550 yards passing. Jefferson Boaz led the team in passing touchdowns (6) to go along with his 463 yards passing.
Despite losing their leading rusher, East Surry returns the second, third, fourth, and fifth leading rushers. The Cardinals will also be with two of their top three receivers from last season.
The first time East Surry will be in action is August 8 in a scrimmage at West Wilkes. The team will also travel to Lincolnton on August 10 for a scrimmage. The Cardinals open the season at East Wilkes on August 17, and will play their first home game against North Surry on August 31.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith