WINSTON-SALEM — After a clunker of a performance led to North Surry’s first loss of the 2017 season, the Greyhounds were eager to get back on the field and get back to their winning ways.
All good, unless you happened to be wearing an Atkins uniform.
The Hounds scored six touchdowns and allowed just one first down in a dominating first-half performance, then played a quick second half with a running clock in a 42-6 rout of the Camels on Friday night.
“We were disappointed, rightfully so, in how we’d played against Mount Airy,” said North head coach Danny Lyons. “But we have 25 seniors on this this team, and they said when we got back to practice that we’re not going to let one game define our season. On Wednesday, we had the best day of practice we’d had all season.”
North Surry’s goal all season has been to bring the school its first conference championship in nearly two decades. The Atkins game was the start of their quest to do that, now that the Camels have joined the 2A ranks and the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference after facing the Hounds as a non-conference foe the past two seasons.
“We have plenty of film on Atkins, and we knew they were better this season than they had been, especially throwing the ball,” Lyons said. “Defending the pass has been a problem for us, but we did a much better job on Friday.”
North Surry avoided its customary slow start and jumped in front 7-0 on its first possession, courtesy of a 35-yard touchdown pass from Chase Swartz to Nick Badgett. Then Elijah Odum sacked the Atkins quarterback for the first of several three-and-out series for the Camels. After a punt, North Surry running backs Sammy McMillian and Ryan Smith went to work, racking the first 40 yards on a 70-yard march to the Atkins end zone. When the Camels finally tightened up, Swartz went back to the air and hit Carson Todd for a completion down to the Atkins 1-yard line. McMillian crashed in from there and it was 14-0.
The Camels were stopped a yard short of a first down on their next series when Keaton Ward tackled an Atkins receiver before he could reach the sticks. They punted on fourth-and-1, but maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do. Darius Duncan hauled in the Camel punt and weaved his way across the field for 47 yards and yet another Greyhound touchdown, leaving North already ahead 21-0 when the opening quarter came to a close.
“I think Darius probably ran about 150 yards to get those 47,” said Lyons. “He did a great job of making people miss him and we did a great job blocking downfield for him.”
After another stop, North Surry marched down the field again and scored on a 1-yard run by Smith. North Surry’s fifth series of the game should have ended the same way, but on fourth-and-1, Smith was making an extra effort to get into the Camel end zone when the ball was stripped out of his hands. Fortunately, Alex Gudino was on the spot for North Surry, pouncing on the free ball. The touchdown was the first of the senior offensive lineman’s career and gave the Hounds a 35-0 lead.
North’s blitzkrieg came to a merciful end at halftime, but not before Badgett caught a short screen-and-go pass from Swartz and took it to the house from 42 yards out. Ethan Evans hit his sixth PAT of the half, and the 42-yard reception appropriately staked the Greyhounds to a 42-0 halftime lead.
“We have a tendency to start slow, but we didn’t this week,” Lyons said. “It’s always nice when everyone gets to play, and the second- and third-team players got a lot of time and competed well.”
The coaching staff cleared the bench for the second half, which began with a continuous clock since North was already ahead by more than 40 points. The Camels finally scored to avert the shutout, but no one was much concerned with that. The Hounds have another Western Piedmont Athletic Conference game next week and were already thinking about how to beat Walkertown.
“I know it’s a cliche, but we’re just taking it one game at a time,” Lyons said. “We have Walkertown next week, and they don’t have a good record, but they’ve been playing really tough teams. Anything can happen in the conference.”
North Surry, now 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in the WPAC, will host the Wolfpack this coming Friday night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.