The East Surry Cardinals forced and then took advantage of several Wildcat miscues in Friday night’s game and downed rival West Stokes 42-28 to win for the second year in a row, and ninth time in the series.
The Cardinals took the opening kickoff and drove 62-yards in 11 plays and consumed a little over five minutes of the game clock to take an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Tyler Smith scored from one-yard out. Devon Goble was good on the extra point for East Surry.
West Stokes quickly responded and scored in less than two-minutes when senior Alex Helvey broke a 45-yard run up the middle on the fourth play from scrimmage. Patrick Ellis spilt the upright for the 7-7 tie.
While each team was forced to punt on their next possession it was the Cardinals who got the break when senior quarterback Alex Manley, from West Stokes, dropped back to punt and caught the ball wrong and it only traveled 14-yards giving the Cardinals first and ten from the Wildcats’ 34-yard line. The Wildcats’ defense dug in and stopped the Cards and forced a field goal attempt from 32-yards out. The field goal missed and the Wildcats escaped without them scoring.
The Wildcats used the momentum from the defense and marched 80-yards 6-plays and scored when Devan Hairston hit pay dirt from 5-yards out. Ellis tacked on the extra-point and the Cats’ held their first advantage of the game at 14-to-7 with 10:14 to play in the second quarter.
East Surry never panicked and steadily drove down the field. They converted three third down plays to keep the drive alive and then scored when Smith found Charlie Freeman on a spectacular catch in the back of the end zone. Goble was good on the extra-point and the game was tied 14-14 with 5:01 remaining in the half.
The Wildcats took their next possession and couldn’t move the ball. Force to punt with 3:37 in the half from their 40-yard line. Manley dropped back to punt and decided to try and run for the first down. The Cardinals swiftly sniffed it out and tackled him for no gain, giving East possession on the 40-yard line. The Wildcats’ defense looked to bend on the possession, but then forced a fumble on the 5-yard line when Wildcat Matthew Craver scooped the ball up with 1:36 on the game clock.
Manley and company tried to force the action after two run plays picked up 19-yards. Facing a first and ten from the 24-yard line, Manley rolled out to pass, but Smith stepped in front of Kameron Wall, the Wildcats’ receiver, and raced 35-yards for the pick six and the lead with 30-seconds left in the half. Goble was once again good on the kick, and the Cardinals took a 21-14 lead into half.
Coming out of the locker room, the Wildcats received the opening kickoff and were hoping to recover from the end of the first half. The first drive started promising when Hairston broke off a 23-yard run down to the Cardinals 32-yard line. After three running plays, the Cats faced a fourth and six from the 28. Manley’s pass fell incomplete and East Surry took over possession.
The Cardinals put together another lengthy drive and went 72-yards in 14 plays while converting four three down plays. Smith scored from one-yard out to give them a two touchdown advantage at 28-14.
West quickly responded to the Cardinals’ score when Manley raced 11-yards for the touchdown after an East Surry flag moved the Wildcats closer. Ellis connected on the extra-point, but the Cats still trailed 28-21 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
Again, the Cardinals responded like two heavy weights in a boxing match. They raced 62-yards in 9-plays and scored with 10:42 in the fourth quarter. Smith scored from 15-yards out, and Goble connected again for a 35-21 lead.
On the next Wildcats possession, Manly threw his second pick of the day to Smith again. Smith led the Cardinals down the field and scored when he connected with Freeman again on a fourth and six from the 20-yard line. Goble added the point after for a 42-21 lead with 3:37 in the game.
The Wildcats responded again with an 80-yard drive in 11-plays when Manley scored from 5-yards out. Ellis added the extra point for the final score of 42-28.
“I really felt like our offense could do just about anything we wanted, but we couldn’t stay on the field,” stated Wildcat’s Head Coach Jimmy Upchurch. “Time of possession for them and our turnovers really hurt us. Them converting on nine third down plays and five fourth down plays was unbelievable on their part. That is a credit to their coaching staff for preparation against us.”
The Cardinals ran 76-plays and gained 409-yards of offense and held the ball for 32:43 of a 48-minute game. Smith led the way with 61-yards rushing and 14-of-24 passing for 189-yards. He scored three rushing touchdowns and threw for two more.
The Wildcats completed 43-plays for 308-yards of offense with Hairston leading the way with 89-yards on 14-carries and one touchdown. Manley had 42-yards rushing, two touchdowns, and was 6-of-15 for 96-yards passing with two interceptions.
Defensively for the Wildcats Caustin Beckner had 18-tackles, Ty Walker had 17, and Craver had 12.
The Wildcats (3-1) travel to Walkertown on Friday night to take on the 1-3 Wolfpack. “Walkertown plays a tough schedule and their three losses are to some pretty good teams. Should be a fun night of football,” said Upchurch.
ES – Tyler Smith 1-yard run; Devon Goble kick (6:57)
WS – Alex Helvey 45-yard run; Patrick Ellis kick (5:16)
WS – Devan Hairston 5-yard run; Ellis kick (10:14)
ES – Charlie Freeman 7-yard reception from Smith; Goble kick (5:01)
ES – Smith 35-yard interception return; Goble kick (0:30)
ES – Smith 1-yard run; Goble kick (3:14)
WS – Alex Manley 11-yard run; Ellis kick (1:28)
ES – Smith 15-yard run; Goble kick (10:42)
ES – Freeman 20-yard reception from Smith; Goble kick (3:37)
WS – Manley 5-yard run; Ellis kick (0:34)
East Surry 7 14 7 14 – 42
West Stokes 7 7 7 7 – 28