DOBSON — It was Surry Central’s Homecoming, but the guests from North Surry were the ones doing the celebrating on Friday night.
The Greyhounds looked like a team challenging to defend the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference title, scoring on their first seven possessions of the game and cruising to a 51-12 victory in front of a near-capacity crowd in Dobson.
“Our motto for tonight was ‘Play 48,’” said North head coach Danny Lyons. “We’ve had games this season where we came out a little slow, or had a letdown during the game. This was our most complete football game of the year.”
North Surry quarterback Chase Swartz spent most of the first half putting on a clinic in the Hounds’ “Air Raid” attack, throwing for 332 yards and completing three touchdown passes to Nick Badgett and one to Jordyn Ward. North already led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, scored three more times in the second quarter to lead 48-6 at the break, and played the entire second half with a running clock.
“Our first half was near perfection,” Lyons said. “We came out and executed well in all phases of the game.”
The Golden Eagles, who were coming off their first win of the season last week at Atkins, were unable to maintain the momentum from that victory. Central (1-6, 1-1 WPAC) had a second-quarter touchdown from Ryan Martin and a fourth-quarter score from Matthew White, but the Eagles were never really in this one.
The Hounds (5-3, 3-0) had the ball first, and Swartz misfired on his first pass of the evening. He wouldn’t miss many others. A short completion to Badgett was followed by a 16-yard strike to Jordan Shelar on an underneath route for a first down at the North 46-yard line. Swartz then went looking for Badgett again, and found him for nine yards into Eagle territory. Then Ward took a screen pass, got an excellent block from Shelar, and rumbled down to the 25. Two plays later, Badgett went long on third-and-9 and Swartz hit him in stride for the score with 9:37 left in the opening period.
Central got one first down on its opening series and then had to punt. Three plays later, Ward went streaking down the middle of the field on third-and-7 and Swartz hit him for 54 yards and Ward’s first offensive touchdown of the season. Swartz already had 125 yards passing with 6:38 left in the first, and his team led 14-0.
Central went three-and-out and the Hounds’ offense took over at midfield for its third series. Badgett hauled in a catch for 35 yards on first down. Ryan Smith carried it for nine yards down to the Central 6, and two rushes by Chandler Hawks did the rest. Ethan Evans’ third PAT of the night made it 21-0 with 3:59 left in the first.
The offense was back on the field quickly, thanks to an interception by sophomore Ty Montgomery on third down. This put the Greyhounds in business on the Central 32-yard line. Two plays later, Ward snagged a pass and took it for a 25-yard gain down to the 3. Smith got the ball for the rest, and crashed into the end zone with 85 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Another three-and-out gave North the ball back at its 39 early in the second quarter. This time, the Hounds scored in just one play, with Swartz going deep to Badgett for the score and a 35-0 lead with 11:05 left in the first half.
The Eagles looked like they might have something going when Martin rumbled for a 28-yard gain to midfield following the score, but the play was called back for holding. This forced Central to pass on first-and-20, and the nightmare continued when the Hounds’ Keylon Smith picked off Maisen Holt’s pass and returned it 17 yards for another North touchdown, just 26 seconds after the last.
Let no one say that the Golden Eagles ever quit, though. Evans boomed another kickoff out of the end zone and Central began another offensive series at its 20. Hard running by Martin netted his team a first down at the 37, and then he helped them grind out another one at the Eagles’ 49. Passes from Maisen Holt to Chase Holt and Tanner Boone kept the home team moving, and then Holt fooled the Hounds’ defense with a hard count, making them jump offsides and giving Central another first down. Three more runs by Martin took the ball from the 34 to the 18, and when the Eagles faced fourth-and-5 from there, Maisen Holt got the yardage on a quarterback keeper. One play later, Martin capped off the 14-play drive by bulldozing into the end zone with 4:51 left in the second quarter to make it 42-6.
The Eagles had proven they wouldn’t quit no matter what. Now the Hounds proved they wouldn’t let up.
Following the Central TD, Hawks rumbled for 13 yards and a first down at the 48. Swartz hit Shelar for 16 yards and a first down at the Eagles’ 36. On the next play, Badgett struck again, hauling in a pass and taking it to paydirt. North had to put in a backup to snap the PAT and Evans didn’t get a chance to attempt a kick, leaving the score at 48-6 with 3:57 left in the half.
North had two more chances to build its lead before intermission, but the Eagles’ defense stepped up, forcing a turnover in the red zone, and then Boone picked off a pass in the final seconds and returned it for 39 yards to the North 29-yard line.
At halftime, Central tennis player Mattie-Grace Snow was chosen as the Homecoming Queen, with Sadie Williams as the Maid of Honor.
Evans tacked on a 22-yard field goal during the Hounds’ first possession of the second half, which was set up after Matthew Cox recovered a fumble.
White had a 22-yard touchdown run for the Eagles late in the game. North also had another highlight of their season, which Central had a hand in. North Surry senior Nick Ballenger, a member of the team who requires the use of a walker to get around, took the field with his teammates on a series late in the contest, with the concurrence of the officials and the Golden Eagles’ players and coaches, who were congratulatory at the end of the game.
“Nick wanted to be part of the team and he’s never missed a practice,” said Lyons. “I wanted him to be able to get on the field, and he got to play at the end of the game. Coach (Monty) Southern and the Central players were first-class about it.”
Badgett had seven catches for 158 yards, while Chandler Hawks carried the ball eight times for 47 yards. Smith, described by Lyons as “about 90 percent” recovered from his injury last week at Walkertown, played sparingly, but had three carries for 13 yards and a score.
The Hounds now have their eyes on a repeat title. The next step will be at home on Friday night against WPAC cellar-dweller Carver (0-8, 0-3), which lost 26-6 to Walkertown this week. The Eagles will visit Forbush.
SC at 20. Pen os5. Two Martin runs to 36. Quarter ends 3-7. Stopped frame 427. Punt.
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