DOBSON — Homecoming night at Surry Central High School was just what the doctor ordered for the school’s football team.
Coming off two one-sided losses in which the team admittedly did not play up to their capabilities, the Golden Eagles returned to form Friday night, scoring touchdowns on five of their seven first-half possessions, and then scoring the final 24 points of a 58-18 rout of South Stokes.
“We got down early last week against Carver, and they’re a super-talented team, but there were a few things we knew we needed to correct,” said Surry Central head coach Monty Southern. “We did what we needed to do tonight. It had been almost a month since we’d won a game. Hopefully this will give them some confidence.”
The Eagles (3-5, 1-1 Western Piedmont Conference) came out determined to wash the bitter taste of that 49-7 loss to Carver out of their mouths. Central took the opening possession at its 22-yard line and drove to paydirt in just six plays, the last a 45-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Johnson to Jed Kidd for a 7-0 lead with 9:22 left in the opening quarter.
After a quick three-and-out by the Eagle defense, the offense started with excellent field position at the Sauras’ 38. A personal foul on South Stokes eliminated 15 yards of that distance right away, and then Johnson connected with Kidd for a first-and-goal at the 5. Eric Ramirez negotiated the distance on the next play, and it was already 14-0 with 6:47 still left in the first quarter.
South Stokes got on the board 63 seconds later when running back Cain Thomas managed to break containment and run 78 yards for a touchdown, but that just made Surry Central mad. The Eagles hacked out a nine-play, 56-yard march to the Sauras’ end zone, culminating in Ramirez’ 1-yard dive at the 1:24 mark of the first.
Thomas scored another touchdown for the South Stokes midway through the second quarter, but Ramirez answered with runs of 30 and 22 yards on the next series, the second of which went for a touchdown and a 27-12 lead. Central added one more score with 64 seconds remaining in the first half when Johnson connected with Tyler Daniels for a 22-yard score.
The Sauras scored one more time to open the second half, but the 34-18 score was as close as they were getting. The rest of the night belonged to the Golden Eagles.
Surry Central started its first drive of the second half from its 25. It took Ramirez just two plays to gain the needed 75 yards. He blasted up the middle for 17 yards, then took it 58 yards to the house on the next play, making the score 41-18 with 8:08 left in the third quarter.
Johnson’s 44-yard run deep into South Stokes territory in the first minute of the final stanza set up Jovani Reynoso to drill a 36-yard field goal with 9:51 remaining. Reynoso scored 10 points in the game, on seven extra points and the field goal, which would have been good from at least seven yards further away.
Daniels had a short run for a touchdown with 5:55 left to give the Golden Eagles half a hundred, and then he got a bonus when the Sauras tried to pass on the first play of the next series. The senior was manning his cornerback position when he grabbed a tipped ball at the South Stokes 39 and headed for the end zone. The Sauras managed to force him out inches from the goal line, but Ramirez got the last half-yard on the next play and Reynoso hit the PAT to complete the scoring.
At halftime, Ashlynn Jewell was named the 2015 Homecoming Queen, with Sydney Beacham as the Maid.
The Golden Eagles visit county rival North Surry next week in a game with huge playoff implications for each team.
Reach John on Twitter at @johncate73.