WINSTON-SALEM — After five weeks of struggle, Surry Central broke into the win column on Friday night with a 27-12 victory that spoiled Homecoming for league rival Atkins.
The Golden Eagles, who were playing in their Western Piedmont Athletic Conference opener, got off to a fast start and the Camels were never really in the game, even though the final margin was just two scores. Both of the Atkins scores came after Eagle turnovers in the second half.
Surry Central (1-5, 1-0 WPAC) mounted two scoring drives in the first quarter, with Ryan Martin finding the end zone both times. The Eagle defense kept Atkins in check, and in the second quarter, the offense got rolling again, and Maisen Holt crossed the goal line and extended the Central lead to 20-0. The Camels’ last drive of the first half went nowhere, and the Eagles went to the break with a three-touchdown advantage.
Martin rushed for 150 yards in the victory, and was one of three Surry Central defenders who intercepted an Atkins pass during the course of the night.
“Ryan had a really good game for us, and defensively, we played a lot better,” said Central head coach Monty Southern. “This was definitely our best game of the year defensively.”
The Eagles put their defense in a difficult position early in the second half, and the Camels (0-7, 0-2 WPAC) took advantage of the turnover to get on the board. However, Central blocked Atkins’ attempt at kicking an extra point, and the score remained at 20-6 with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.
“We blew a coverage and they just threw over our head,” said Southern.
The Camels’ touchdown seemed to get the Eagles fired up again, and on Central’s first series after the Atkins score, they drove down the field and Martin scored for the third time,with Tony Cortes kicking the PAT to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the game at 27-6.
Central’s defense continued to slam the door in the Camels’ face down the stretch, with Matthew White and Daniel Valenzuela picking off passes. Atkins did score one more time, but that came after Central fumbled a pitchout while on offense and ran it in for a touchdown. The Eagles blocked another PAT attempt to complete the scoring at 27-12.
“The kids were excited,” said Southern. “It was our conference opener, and we’re 1-0 in conference now. We’ve been struggling, but we’ve also been playing against some really good teams. It was nice to get a win, and hopefully, it will give us some momentum the rest of the season.”
Central’s second conference game is this coming Friday night, and pits the last two teams to win the WPAC title. Defending league champ North Surry rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to upend Walkertown on Friday night, and this week, the Greyhounds will be the Eagles’ guests on Central’s Homecoming night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.