MOUNT GILEAD — A strong second half propelled West Montgomery over East Surry in the 1AA state football playoffs Friday night.
The Cardinals led 14-6 after the first quarter, but couldn’t hold the lead in falling 48-27 to a team many believe will win the state title.
“I thought we had a fantastic season,” said Coach David Diamont. “You always want to play to the point when you look across the field, the team on the other side has some physical advantage. They were very quick. They were much quicker than anybody we’ve played this season.”
The Warriors are 13-1 with their only loss by 10 points to 3A Eastern Guilford. Against 1A and 2A competition, no team has come as close as East Surry’s 21 points.
The Cards finish the season at 11-3, their best record since 2001.
“Going into the game, we knew that we had to run the ball, control the line of scrimmage,” he said. “They really crowded the line and were quick off the snap.”
“We knew their scoring ability on offense is something we had to keep up with,” he said, and in the first quarter the game plan worked. The Cards put together two scoring drives and held an eight-point lead.
Even though the Warriors began to make plays on offense, the game was still close at 20-14 West Montgomery at the half.
In the locker room, Diamont said he told the players and coaches that they needed to make a big stop and then go down the field and score to retake the lead.
The Cards did get a stop, but on fourth down the Warriors ran a successful fake punt.
That play had a big impact on momentum, the coach admitted. West Montgomery scored to take a 27-14 lead, and that made it difficult to come back, he said.
“Everybody knows how quick the quarterback is,” he said, but “the running back is a special athlete. … He gave us fits on the outside.”
Making it to the third round is a significant achievement, the coach believes.
“It was a very good effort all season long by our coaching staff. Our team was hard working, we put a lot of time in. And along the way we had a lot of fun, it was a good journey.”
“Our senior class was a special class — low maintenance, you never had to worry about them off the field.”
With the last area team eliminated from the state playoffs, the Northwest Conference is releasing its all-conference team and player of the year award this weekend. Look for an article in Tuesday’s edition.