Bears, Cards at home, Hounds, Eagles on road
by Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
East Surry returns to action, Mount Airy and Surry Central take on Stokes schools, and North Surry heads to High Point in Friday’s football action.
The Cardinals were the first local team to take a bye week. They host South Stokes tonight.
After playing each other last week, the Granite Bears and Golden Eagles will play West Stokes and North Stokes respectively.
Sporting a lengthy injury list, the Greyhounds face an Andrews team ranked in the top 10 in the state.
“We needed the bye, we needed time to heal up,” said East Coach David Diamont.
Diamont said he was holding tight end Jack Edwards out this week. Jack had a slight separation of his shoulder, and another week of rest seemed prudent to the veteran coach.
Lucas Koons is doubtful, and that could be a significant issue for the Cards. Not only has Koons been the team’s top running back, but he also has been valuable as a linebacker.
The team could use all the players it can on defense with a high-octane Sauras team coming to town.
“Their defense has struggled, but they are so explosive offensively,” said Diamont. Quarterback J.J. Davis and tailback Jacquan Martin are both good.
A team can be performing well on offense and still realize that it needs more points to keep up with South Stokes, he said.
In week one, South Stokes edged East Wilkes 51-50. The team also posted 31 points on Alleghany and 35 on Bishop McGuinness.
“It’s fast-break football,” said Diamont.
This is the sixth week of season and only the second home game for the Cards. Then at the end of the season, the Cards have three of four at home.
When a coach has a bye week, he is concerned that kids aren’t going to keep their intensity and focus at the same level, but this group practiced hard, Diamont said.
The coach reminded his team what happened the last time these teams met. South Stokes was coming off a blowout of Surry Central, and the Cards were reeling from a beating by the Bears. Still, the Cards turned it around and edged the Sauras 24-22 in the first round of the state playoffs.
That just goes to show that anything can happen, and guys need to stay focused, he said.
After averaging just 10 points in two losses, the Bears have run off three straight while scoring nearly 36 points per game on Carroll County, Va., North Surry and Surry Central.
The Bears were buoyed by the season debut of halfback Shay Wilson, who provided a 1-2 punch behind starter Devontae Dobson.
The offense did a better job up front last week, said Coach Kelly Holder, which is something the team has needed to do. Having two backs running well was nice, too.
While the Bears have had some success through the air, Holder said he is much more comfortable running the ball 30-40 times a game and throwing just six or seven times.
It is nice to be good through the air, said Holder, but he’d rather not need to.
“It’s definitely going to take a complete game to win,” he said. “West Stokes is a very good defensive team, they play hard.”
The Wildcats have been good on defense for a few years now, so he expects that, and the offense is catching up.
Their sophomore quarterback Alex Manley is going to be good, he said.
Running back Rashad Witherspoon has been a workhorse, picking up 93 yards per game with seven touchdowns.
“West Stokes could be the best team we’ve played yet,” Holder said.
North Surry could be facing an even tougher team in T.W. Andrews, which is #3 in MaxPreps’ ranking of 2A teams.
“They are many people’s preseason pick to win the state championship,” said North Coach Danny Lyons.
Andrews is averaging 193 yards per game on the ground at an incredible rate of 12.7 yards a carry.
Running back Marquell Cartright is a legit Division I prospect, said Lyons. He is averaging 160 yards a game on 13.4 yards a carry.
Quarterback Lamar Raynard also is good, said Lyons, with 132 yards per game through the air.
The Red Raiders’ A.J. Simeon Stadium is the biggest place any of these guys have ever played in, the coach said. The stadium seats about 9,500 people, he said.
The Raiders’ defense is “big, fast and strong,” said Lyons, but he told his team that they can’t worry about all that.
The Greyhounds have to get better at what they do, he said.
The Hounds faced Salisbury three years ago before that team went on to the state championship game. Then two years ago, the Hounds played a West Stokes team that won the state 2A title. And new conference foe Carver is ranked fifth in 2A on MaxPreps, so Lyons doesn’t want his team to be intimidated before they get off the bus.
He said the team will embrace the underdog role and play their hardest.
North is 2-3 and on a three-game losing streak, but Lyons noted that the Hounds outgained their last two opponents in total yardage.
If the team had cut down the turnovers, then North Surry could be 4-1 right now, he believed.
While Lyons said the Hounds had a good week of practice, the team is in dire need of its bye week Oct. 4.
The Hounds will be missing nine players, some of which are starters both on offense and defense.
Blaze Acord, Jordan DeHart and Bryan Martin have been out for the past few games, but now quarterback/linebacker Hunter Snow is out with a concussion. Acord’s backup at halfback, Corbin Bullins, also is out, leaving more of the rushing load on Dakota Goss.
Leading receiver Ryan March is out with a badly sprained ankle.
Kandon Wilson is out, and Ben Nichols will be a game-time decision with a sore knee.
Bo Wright will be out of town with his family, so that adds another name to the list.
Lyons told his team that things happen for a reason, and they will discover some positives from all this adversity by the end of the season.
Despite going on the road, Surry Central (2-3) should still be favored against North Stokes (0-5).
The Vikings had a pass-heavy offense for the past two years, but have changed coaches and schemes.
With the new look, the Vikings have struggled to score, posting just 7.4 points per game. The defense, on the other hand, has given up 28.2 points per game.
That should be a needed boost for an Eagles team fresh off two losses, with just seven points scored in each game.
Central scored 24 points per game in wins over East Wilkes and Wilkes Central, but had trouble against Elkin and Mount Airy.
North Stokes is running a 4-4, but sometimes they like to sneak the linebackers up on the outside and make it a six-man front, noted Central Coach Monty Southern.
The team is a little banged up right now and a win would be a nice boost to morale, he said.
The Eagles have used a two-quarterback system, but junior Kirk Needham is out for 6-8 weeks with a cracked vertebrae in his lower back.
That means Alex Martin will be the full-time quarterback and also a full-time defensive back.
Alex is one of the top defenders, said Southern. With limited depth behind Martin, the coach is reluctant to rest the starter on defense.
Alex is in good enough shape to do both, he said.
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