Battle of the birds

First Posted: 9/23/2009

PILOT MOUNTAIN East Surry and Surry Central have faced each other in each of the past four seasons, but this year it means something.
With both teams in the newly-formed Northwest 1A/2A Conference, the Cardinals (4-0) and Golden Eagles (0-4) kick off the conference portion of their schedules by taking on each other.
Its the beginning of the real season, East Surry coach Dave Diamont said. Everything has been window dressing until now.
Despite being polar opposites in the win-loss columns, both coaches are expecting a hard-hitting affair.
0-4 means nothing to me, Diamont said of the winless Golden Eagles. Surry Central is always a rival game. Its two county schools playing each other. I dont care what anyones record is, you can expect some good football.
Added Surry Central coach Monty Southern: Anytime youre playing them in a conference game, it elevates the status a little bit.
Even though his team has fared well and put together the wins to show for it, Diamont said hes glad to be facing a familiar opponent, one that will provide a spark that only an in-county rival can provide.
Were glad to be playing somebody we know, he said. We know their people. This game will have an element of emotion these past four games have not had.
Surry Central has allowed 163 points so far, the second-most by any conference team. The Golden Eagles have struggled to defend the run in the process, so expect the Cardinals to play a smash-mouth style.
Southern said the past two weeks he and his staff have preached wrapping up and tackling to their defenders.
Were certainly game-planning for East Surry, but we feel like theres things we need to fix on ourselves, he said. Thats really what we have focused on the last two weeks more than anything.
The Golden Eagles will be without 275-pound defensive tackle Jason Esparza, who broke a bone in his foot Sept. 11 against Trinity. That could be a huge loss for the visitors, who have a smaller team to begin with. However, linebacker Luke Harris is recovering nicely from a high ankle sprain and should be able to contribute.
The Cardinals and Golden Eagles kick off at 7:30 p.m.

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