DOBSON — East Surry finally broke open a close game in the fourth quarter to beat Surry Central 20-0 on opening night.
The Cardinals and Eagles played tough defense and special teams all game, and field position was at a premium.
For two and a half quarters, neither team could score.
Surry Central took the opening kickoff and went three-and-out. East crossed midfield, but a late hit after the whistle moved the team back 15 yards and stalled the drive.
At the start of the second quarter, Central Quarterback Alex Martin pump-faked the Card defense, then heaved long down the middle of the field. Reid Stanley got behind the secondary, but couldn’t bring in the pass for what might have been a touchdown.
A couple of possessions later, the Eagles lined up for a punt.
East’s Gage Edwards broke free and got a fingertip on the ball near the 6-yard line. However, punter Chris Craddock hit the ball solidly enough that it still traveled out to the 35-yard line when it could have easily been East’s ball close to the goal.
The Cards moved to the 17-yard line and tried a 34-yard field goal, but Central blocked it with less than two minutes in the half.
With about seven minutes left in the third quarter, East fielded a punt at its own 46-yard line.
Quarterback John Dickenson completed a short pass to Jack Edwards in the middle of the field. Edwards broke free from two defenders, spun to the outside and raced down the right sideline with a convoy of teammates.
East missed the extra point but led 6-0.
On the next drive, the Eagles steadily moved the ball from their own 26 to the East 31.
Then with Kirk Needham back in the shotgun, a high snap caused the quarterback to leap for the ball and end up being tackled for a nine-yard loss, which stalled the drive.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Cards drove down the field and threatened to score.
Central forced a fumble and recovered at the 10-yard line.
“We were able to push them back inside their own 1-yard line,” said Coach David Diamont.
There was a loose ball in the end zone, and one of the Central players appeared to think the ball was dead, he said. Jack Edwards alertly fell on the ball and earned his second touchdown of the night.
Jack helped out in all phases of the game, according to the coach.
Punter Madison Chilton was out, so Edwards filled in and did a good job punting, too.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Cards moved the ball into the red zone.
The team was down close to the goal line before a 5-yard penalty moved it back to the 7-yard line. From there, Lucas Koons scored a touchdown run.
“Lucas Koons had a really good night running the football,” said Diamont, but he didn’t have any stats available at press time.
The defense pitched a shutout, however, Diamont said, “We played well at times, but we made a lot of mistakes — in fact both teams made a lot of mistakes.”
There were unnecessary penalties, fumbles and dropped passes on both sides, he said. The coach said he was upset with his team for looking undisciplined at times.
Next up for East Surry is a home game with Starmount, which beat Mount Airy Friday.
It will be a big challenge, but that’s what players live for, said Diamont.
As for the home team, the Eagles will travel to East Wilkes next week.