RONDA — East Surry football kicked off the Trent Lowman era in dramatic fashion.
It started with thunder and lightning in the sky and carried over onto the football field as the Cardinals stormed over East Wilkes 52-7 on the road.
The game began a half-hour late because of a passing thunderstorm. Then the home team won the coin toss — the last time East Wilkes was statistically ahead.
The home team chose to kick away, and East Surry promptly marched down the field and scored in two minutes.
Quarterback Stephen Gosnell picked up 40 yards on a keeper. Then he hit Quincy Smith for a 15-yard completion.
A couple of running plays got it down to the goal line, where Logan Ray squeezed in from a yard out at the 9:54 mark. Derek Sutterby converted the first of six extra points to make it 7-0.
Then Sutterby boomed a kickoff into the end zone.
Derek was consistent on his extra points and on making a field goal, said Coach Lowman. Seeing him perform well and drill those kickoffs was a pleasant thing to watch. The team also has another good kicker in Seth Lowe, who got to come in and kick a PAT himself, the coach noted.
After forcing a three-and-out, East Surry took over on its 36-yard line, but a fumble that was recovered in the Cards’ own backfield doomed that drive.
Still, after East Surry’s punt, the home team still couldn’t move the ball. With the first two drives, East Wilkes had a net total of -3 yards.
Dillon Mosley returned the East Wilkes punt 36 yards, but part of it was wiped out by a penalty.
Elijah Wright carried twice for 16 yards and a first down. He had a 10-yard run before Logan Ray went 18 yards down to the 5-yard line. Gosnell scrambled, then skipped over a falling defender on his way into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 with 3:08 left in the first.
East Wilkes fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Mitchell Edwards recovered on the 27-yard line.
Ray had a 16-yard run as the Cards pushed down to the 1 before Wright pushed across the touchdown to make 21-0 with it still in the first quarter.
East Wilkes finally got a first down on its fourth possession with an option toss to the left side. However, on the next play the team lost a fumble at the 39-yard line.
The defense and special teams recovered four fumbles in the game, pointed out Lowman. A fifth fumble trickled out of bounds before the defense could secure it.
Lowman switched Gosnell to wide receiver and put in 6-foot-8 Jefferson Boaz at QB. A pass to Gosnell went off the junior’s hand, hit a defender and popped straight up about 20 feet.
Starting tailback and free safety Jesse Aguilar ran under it for an interception.
Jefferson had two interceptions, said the head coach, but one was a fluke, and the other at the start of the second half was a deep ball down to the goal line that was as good as any downed punt as the defensive back was tackled at the 2-yard line.
East Wilkes couldn’t capitalize on Aguilar’s defensive play, then had the punt blocked by Edwards with East Surry taking over on the 27-yard line.
A 16-yard pass got the ball to the 11, then a run made it to the 2-yard line. One touchdown was called back on a holding call, but then Gosnell scored on an 11-yard run anyway to make it 28-0 with 9:09 left in the half.
East Wilkes had its next drive hampered by a snap over the QB’s head back to the 28-yard line. The ensuing punt only made to the 37.
Boaz ran around the left side, straight-armed a defender to the turf and danced out of bounds. Well off the field, he was shoved into the chain-link fence at the track, drawing a flag and some heated words from the visiting fans.
That moved the ball into the red zone. Sutterby would later kick a 21-yard field goal for a 31-0 lead.
East Wilkes finally made it across midfield to the 44-yard line before stalling, then turning the ball over on downs.
Immediately East Surry went to the air. Slot receiver Quincy Smith had to stop and reach behind him for a back-shoulder throw. Then he weaved around his outside receiver who set a pick so that Smith could go 54 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-0 with 1:45 before the half.
East Wilkes had its best drive of the night as Aguilar broke a 28-yard run, then the quarterback found Grayson Church for a reception to the 17-yard line.
Unfortunately two runs for no gain were followed by a fumbled snap, with East Surry recovering with 2.9 seconds left. One kneel-down made to the half.
East Surry’s first possession of the third started on the home team’s 43-yard line after a good return from Dillon Mosley.
“Dillon can be a really valuable player for us,” said Lowman. He plays safety, return man, and some snaps in the offensive backfield.
Boaz later made his interception on a pass that traveled more than 45 yards in the air.
On the visiting team’s second drive, Gosnell broke free and went 33 yards for a touchdown to make it 45-0, which meant that there would be a running clock for the rest of the game.
In the fourth quarter, Edwards would score on a fullback dive from a yard out to make it 52-0.
On the kickoff, East Wilkes’ return man went 93 yards for a touchdown to make it 52-7, where the scoreboard would stay until the end.
Defensive Coordinator Randy Marion and his squad didn’t allow a score from scrimmage all game.
With this being the first game of the season, the coach didn’t expect this kind of eruption, did he?
“We’ve got good players,” said Lowman. “As a coach, coming in we did expect to score that many.”
“The players, they were excited and played hard. They tried to do what their coach expected, and that can lead to explosive efforts.”
With himself as offensive coordinator, Lowman was pleased to see nine different players get a chance to run the ball and four guys make a reception. Five different players scored a touchdown.
“That’s offensive output you like to see. Use the whole field and use as many players as you can to attack the defense. You want to make a team defend the whole field and don’t let them zone in on one person or one spot.
“It was a good first game, good way to kick the season off. We had a lot of fans travel, good support from them. It was an enjoyable first week.”
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.