First Posted: 9/16/2009
PILOT MOUNTAIN While most of the kids who wear the white and red are too young to know the reference, the East Surry Cardinals have been the road warriors of the Northwest 1A/2A conference so far this season.
To this point, East Surry has faced teams, with the exception of Starmount, who reside more than an hour from home.
That presents problems not only with travel and support, but, as coach David Diamont said Wednesday, hyping up kids to play against a team theyve never heard of.
Playing them at their place presents us with the same situation weve had the entire non-conference season, Diamont said. We are playing a team with athletes and we dont know them personally. Its hard to get yourself emotionally involved in a ball game. I cant wait until we play somebody who the kids know. We are constantly trying to do things to rev up the engines and get folks a little more excited about Friday night.
While the lack of intensity hasnt necessarily shown on the field for the Cardinals, there is no doubt a matchup against a familiar foe would be welcomed in Pilot Mountain.
Coming off a bye week, East Surry sits 3-0 and among the conference leaders in the Northwest 1A/2A. The Cardinals are also ranked seventh in the APs Top 10 1A poll this week, up two spots from one week earlier.
The Cardinals last competition was against North Lincoln, their only home game of the season, in which they held on to win 27-20.
Diamont said there is always concern heading into the first game after a bye week.
The concern this week is over sickness, particularly the loss of senior Devin Slate, a two-way player for the Cardinals, and missed practice time.
We are like everybody else coming off an off-week, Diamont said. You hope youve done the right thing in preparation. We have quite a bit of illness and weve had kids miss practices.
In regards to Bartlett Yancey, located in Yanceyville in Caswell County, Diamont said the Buccaneers are big and fast, but have had a tough time in recent years finding the monetary and county support which can be so vital to success.
Bartlett Yancey is a unique situation because they are the only high school in the county and they dont have the kind of support systems that East Surry or Mount Airy or North Surry would have and they sometimes struggle, not only with getting enough assistants, but getting enough money to run a good program, Diamont said. You will see a lot of athletes.
They are huge compared to us. They havent had a winning season in a while, they are 2-1 and when you watch video of them, its really obvious as you watch one game to the next how much they improve. They have a lot of skill. I would think if they could get some wins under their belt they could cause some problems to folks in their conference.
Diamont said the Buccaneers run a spread Pistol style offense and are not afraid to run four receivers straight down the field. He said with quite a few players with 4.5-40-yard dashes and lower, his defensive secondary will be put to the test.
As for the Cardinals, Diamont said one of the areas he hopes to see improvement is up front offensively.
Ive got to find a way to make my offensive linemen nastier, Diamont said. Weve got good talent there Ive just got to find a way to get them meaner, more aggressive, to use their hands more and explode into people. I think the offensive line, and coach Haywood does a good job, it is the toughest area to deal with on the high school level. Its not a glory position, a lot of folks in the stands dont have a clue what it takes to be an offensive lineman, but the offensive line makes running backs look good, it allows the passer to throw the ball and to control the game.
Contact Thomas Smith at [email protected] or 719-1920.