The West Stokes Wildcats drove nine miles down the road Friday night and faced rival East Surry in what is always a battle between the two schools. Devan Hairston, senior running back for West Stokes, rushed his way to 292-yards on the ground and four touchdowns in the 45-28 victory.
The Cardinals, trying to extend their win streak to three straight victories over the Cats, used momentum early and scored with just a mere two minutes off the game clock to take an early lead. Quarterback Trevor Hauser found fullback Garrett Barker for the 27-yard reception on one of East Surry’s favorite plays. Kicker Ryan Sutterby spilt the upright for the 7-0 led.
On the pursuing kickoff, the Purple Cats went to work on offense. They used a nine play drive starting at the East Surry 37-yard line and drove the distance for pay dirt. Hairston scored his first touchdown on the evening from 8-yards out. The Wildcats decided to go for two, but failed which still left the Red Birds in the lead at 7-6 with 6:12 left in the quarter.
The Wildcats’ defense stiffened the Cardinals on their next drive forcing a three and out, but a botched punt return by West left East with a first and goal from the 9-yard line. Not wasting any time, the Cardinals used another pass scoring from 5-yards out; this time the receipting was Wesley Marion. The Cards tacked on the extra-point for a 14-6 lead with 3:54 left.
Sutterby had a touchback forcing the Wildcats to start from their own 20-yard line. After a loss on first down and then facing a third and six, quarterback Reid Fulk found Josh Grubb coming out of the backfield for a 33-yard pick up giving the Cats a first down. Two plays later Hairston broke around the right end for a 41-yard touchdown dash. Hairston converted on the extra-point tying the score at 14.
“He has really stepped into his own,” stated Wildcats’ head coach, Jimmy Upchurch.
“Going into the season we knew for us to be successful, Devan was going to have to be one of those kids to step up and he has.”
In the second quarter, the Wildcats imploded on the scoreboard with three more touchdowns and converted the two-point attempts on all of them. The first touchdown came at the 10-minute mark of the quarter when freshman Chris Brown jetted 32-yards for his first career high school touchdown.
On East Surry’s next possession, they faced a third and seven, but Wildcat junior Tyler Walker stepped in front of Hauser’s pass attempt and took it 45-yards for the score.
“Walker is another one of those special players, a game changer” said Upchurch. “Teams have to plan around him, and he is one of the smartest kids I have ever coached. Before he leaves West Stokes, he will be the all-time tackle leader!”
On the third and final touchdown of the quarter, the Wildcats scored again on Hairston’s 17-yard burst up the middle. East Surry sandwich a score in the quarter making the halftime score of 38-20 at the break.
After a scoreless third quarter for both teams, the Wildcats started the fourth quarter on their own 1-yard line. Forcing a punt from their end zone, the Cardinals received excellent field position in their first possession of the quarter. The red birds marched 37-yards and scored on a fourth and eleven with Hauser hooked up with Conner Sheets out of the backfield.
“We had just told our kids to watch out for that play! We had him covered up, but Conner is such an athletic kid we were unable to tackle him,” commented Upchurch.
After the two-point conversion, the Wildcats led shrunk to 10-points at 38-28.
On the next drive for West Stokes, they gave the Cardinals a heavy dose of Hairston and Grubb. Hairston finally scored on a 48-yard run on the eight play of the drive. Fulk connected on the extra-point for his first ever extra-point try giving the Wildcats the final score of 45-28.
Offensively for the Wildcats they totaled 425-yards of offense with 363 of those yards on the ground. Hairston carried the ball 31-times for his 292-yards making him fourth on the career rushing list at West with a total of 2,314 yards with seven regular season games left. Fulk only attempted seven passes, completing three of them for 62-yards. For East Surry, they had 302-yards of offense with running back Joey Ray leading the way. He had 164-yards rushing on 21 carries and no touchdowns. The Cardinals with a duel quarter back of Sheets and Hauser finished with seven catches on eighteen attempts with two interceptions.
Leading the Wildcats in defense was Walker with 11-tackles, two for a loss, and an interception return for a touchdown. Parker Pratt also contributed 11-tackles with a sack and three tackles for a loss. Defensively for East Surry was Sheets with 11-tackles.
“I’m really proud of our kids tonight,” said Upchurch. “We have faced some adversity this week and I think our kids have grown from it. I’m really pleased with the way we responded and hopefully we will have no let downs from here.”
West Stokes will face Walkertown (1-3) in a televised game by Time Warner Cable on Thursday evening at 7:30pm. East Surry (2-2) is off next week and travels to Atkins on Sept. 23.