PILOT MOUNTAIN — Surry Central and East Surry had unfinished business after tying 1-1 two weeks ago. Unable to determine a winner after 80 minutes last time, the Golden Eagles left no doubt in the 4-0 road victory.
“The biggest difference (in this match) was that they won all the 50-50 balls and our passing was nonexistent,” said East coach Neal Oliver. “We just kicked the ball more than we passed it.”
An offensive juggernaut, Surry Central sent a barrage of shots at East keeper Ethan Casstevens on August 22. The Cardinals’ defensive-minded strategy forced the Eagles to take longer shots, leading to the 1-1 tie.
Central coach Blake Roth changed the game plan up for Wednesday’s meeting, and the results showed.
“We tried to keep it away from (Seth) Lowe and (Gonzalo) Chavez; they’re just beasts back there, and they did a fantastic job tonight,” Roth said. “I felt like as many opportunities that we had, how many more would we have got had (Lowe and Chavez) not been there.”
The Eagles out-shot the Cardinals 17-4 in the match. Shots came from all angles as the Cardinals struggled to mount an offensive counterattack.
“I think our effort got a little bit better tonight, but not too much,” Roth said. “They listened to us coaches for a little while and tried to do a few of the things that we had worked on yesterday in practice as far as how we can be successful against East Surry.”
Both coaches had to make on-the-fly changes to their offense due to injuries. East Surry attacking midfielder Leo De la Cruz went down with a leg injury midway through the first half, while Eagle forward Chaco Sanchez had to be carried off just minutes later.
Both Cruz and Sanchez were on the field for the first goal of the match. Sanchez ran up the right sideline and sent a cross into the Cardinal box in the ninth minute. Orlando Ocampo chased the ball down and sent it past Casstevens for the goal.
East Surry managed to get the ball into Eagle territory a number of times in the first half. However, they were swarmed each time. Whether it was Ryan Wagoner sending the ball overhead to Brady Jessup, Anderson Allred, or Juan Ramirez passing up the sideline, East couldn’t catch a break.
Central continued to put pressure on East throughout the first half, but the Cardinal back line kept the score at 1-0 through the first 40 minutes. It wasn’t until minute 55 in the second half that the Eagles would extend the lead. Ocampo notched his second goal of the night to put his team up 2-0.
Outside backs Cade Williams and Jacob Lowe worked overtime since the Eagles were attacking the sidelines. The duo held off Central on numerous drives, but eventually the Eagles burst through the back line. Erik Cruz sent the ball into the box from midfield where Edgar Vega finished to make it 3-0.
The Eagles scored the final goal of the match with just seven minutes left to play. Daniel Orozco, who spent most of the game at midfield keeping the ball in Cardinal territory, sent a 35-yard screamer of a free kick into the back of the net to put the cherry on top of the Eagles’ victory.
East Surry’s first loss of the season drops the Cards to 4-1-2. Despite falling to Central, Oliver is optimistic about his team’s future.
”We need to keep working hard, that’s all,” Oliver said. “We’re a good team and we’ve got good players, we just need to put it together. We’ll be fine.”
The win moves Surry Central to 4-1-2 as well and is the Eagles’ third straight win after a 1-1-2 start. The focus on Roth and the Eagles moving forward is health, stating that they may have to reshape the offense if Sanchez misses an extended period of time.
Central will open conference play when they travel to Atkins on September 12. The Cardinals’ next match will be against another team from the Western Piedmont 2A Conference, Forbush, on September 10.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith