HUNTERSVILLE — North Surry football coach Danny Lyons admitted he was concerned that his Greyhounds were walking right into a trap game on Friday night at Community School of Davidson.
The Hounds, fresh off a close loss to East Surry the week before, and hosting arch-rival Mount Airy next week, had to hit the road and play a speedy group of Spartans who run an unusual style of offense that high school teams almost never have to defend against.
Sure enough, Davidson caught North Surry off-guard and led 7-0 early, but the Hounds settled down and even had a couple of record-setting performances during the course of the night. North reeled off 38 unanswered points and cruised to a 38-7 win in a game played at Hopewell High School.
“We started slow, and that didn’t surprise me,” said Lyons. “We had an emotionally-charged game last week against East, and we’re playing Mount Airy next week. You could call it a trap game, but we got it going and played three good quarters of football.”
North Surry (2-2) sputtered on its first three offensive drives. The Hounds were playing with backup quarterback Carson Hawks for the second week in a row, and it took some time for him and the rest of the offense to get on the same page. Meanwhile, the Spartans countered by lining up and running plays out of the “Emory & Henry” formation, a style of spread offense developed at that school decades ago, in which only two or three linemen are on the field at a time. Davidson ran a quick screen out of this formation and hit a big gainer down to the Hounds’ 10-yard line, and three plays later, the Spartans led 7-0 when Austin Fekete tossed a three-yard pass to Brandon Ellington for a touchdown with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
“Our kids hadn’t seen that before,” Lyons said of Davidson’s unusual formation. “We just didn’t line up correctly on that screen.”
However, the defense settled down, and the Hounds’ offensive line, which has made big strides in the past two weeks, started pushing the Spartans back. Early in the second quarter, Ryan Smith tore off a series of powerful runs, going 11, 15, 3, 12 and then 10 yards as North Surry marched into the red zone. He got the call again with 9:17 left in the first half and crashed in from the 5-yard line. Ethan Evans tied the game with his PAT, and the visitors would never trail again.
North’s defense stopped the Spartans’ next drive near midfield. They got off a strong punt, driving the Hounds’ Nick Badgett all the way back to his 1-yard line. But this gave his teammates time to set up a wall before the CSD coverage team got downfield, and Badgett took it 99 yards for a touchdown, which the school believes set a new school record for longest punt return.
Evans set the next record, after North stopped Davidson again and got the ball back. Hawks and the offense made it to the Spartans’ 33, and Lyons sent his senior kicker out to attempt a 50-yard field goal, which would break the school record for longest field goal that he’d set last week. Evans nailed it, extending the Hounds’ lead to 17-7.
Lyons gave him another chance to break the record on the last play of the first half, when he missed a 60-yard attempt that the coach said would have been good from 57.
“You can’t say enough about (Evans) and what he’s give us,” said Lyons. “He’s broken the record for longest field goal two weeks in a row, and he’s averaging 43 yards a punt. I feel like we have a big advantage in any game with him.”
Badgett intercepted a Davidson pass early in the second half, and running backs Smith and Chandler Hawks helped the Hounds pound it down the field. Smith scored from three yards out to make it 24-7. He added another one, this time from seven yards, late in the third quarter as North extended its lead to 31-7.
Badgett’s second interception of the half set up a three-yard run by Chandler Hawks with 4:37 left n the game. With a 38-7 lead, Lyons cleared his bench. The Spartans (2-2) scored on a late touchdown pass to produce the final margin.
“They must have thrown the ball like 40 times,” Lyons said of CSD’s efforts to get back into the game. “Our size and depth just wore on them.”
Chandler Hawks was back in the fold for North after being hurt in the season opener at North Forsyth. He had 14 carries for 87 yards in his return, allowing North to get back to having a 1-2 punch out of the running back position, a strategy that helped the Hounds win the WPAC title a year ago.
Smith, the lead back in the two-back attack, led everyone with 200 yards on 22 carries. Carson Hawks completed seven of 18 passes for 71 yards. The sophomore will hold the spot for at least a few more weeks, while 2017 WPAC Offensive Player of the Year Chase Swartz recovers from knee surgery.
Badgett had a very strong all-around game, intercepting two CSD passes and recovering a fumble, along with four pass receptions for 47 yards and the 99-yard punt return. Jordyn Ward, Tanner Woods and Coy Montgomery also caught a pass.
The Hounds will host Mount Airy (4-0) next Friday night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.