WINSTON-SALEM — North Surry snapped a two-game losing streak in dramatic fashion with a 33-0 shutout on the road at Atkins.
After tough games against rivals East Surry and Mount Airy, the Greyhounds got back in the win column against a Camel squad that has yet to taste victory at 0-5.
“Those were two emotional losses,” said Coach Danny Lyons. Despite losing to the Granite Bears, Lyons thought his team did some things well and showed improvement.
The home team got off to a good start, picking up a couple of first downs on the ground.
Then on third and long, the Hounds knocked the ball loose, and it bounced backward across midfield, where Clay Shumate fell on it at the Atkins 47-yard line.
A couple of running plays earned a first down, then Andrew Smith broke free for 28 yards to the 5.
Quarterback Avery Smith then used a keeper to score the first touchdown of the game with 8:09 left in the quarter. Following an Izzy Garcia kick, it was 7-0.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Hounds took over at the Atkins 42.
On a short pass, the ball was deflected, allowing the defense to make the interception.
The Camels got one first down before Nick Huff and a teammate combined for a sack.
After both teams had a punt, the Camels had the ball again at their own 15-yard line.
North Surry forced a punt, which Reid Stanley returned all the way to the 1-yard line at the start of the second quarter.
Andrew Smith scored from a yard out to make it 13-0 with 10:18 left in the half. Garcia’s PAT just missed right.
Another three-and-out gave the ball back to North, and the Hounds didn’t waste any time scoring.
Avery Smith picked up six yards. Then Andrew Smith had back-to-back long runs. He earned 21 yards to the 20-yard line. Then he finished the drive with a 20-yard TD run with 7:18 left. With a kick, it was 20-0.
Atkins managed one first down, but then turned the ball over on downs near midfield.
North Surry went for it on fourth-and-2 and converted.
Then at the 34-yard line, the Hounds went for it again, on fourth-and-14. Avery Smith hit Reid Stanley with a pass to the 10-yard line for a first down.
Sammy McMillian rushed for two yards, then eight yards for the touchdown to make it 26-0 with 1:54 left in the half.
Garcia again boomed a high, long ball, but just missed right.
A big kickoff return put Atkins at the 25-yard line, where the quarterback tried three straight times to pick on cornerback Darius Duncan.
Despite being 5-foot-7, Duncan broke up two passes and then allowed the receiver to catch the third only as he was out the back of the end zone.
The Camels put their best receiver over on that side, but Duncan is North’s best defensive back, said Lyons.
“We’ll take our chances on any ball thrown at him,” said Lyons.
On fourth down, Atkins lined up for a 31-yard field goal, but the Hounds burst through. With three men rushing at him, the Camel kicker shanked the ball well right and short to end the half.
To open the second half, Avery Smith hit Stanley for about a 40-yard pass play, but on the tackle at the sideline, the ball came free.
The defense held, but on its next possession, the Hounds committed a second straight turnover, as the outside receiver stopped running on a long pass, and the defense intercepted.
Avery Smith missed two games at the start of the season, and he and his receivers aren’t on the same page yet, said the coach. There were times when the right read wasn’t made or the receiver ran the wrong route.
Still, Lyons said he has every confidence in his quarterback making progress with his receivers.
The passing game will be necessary at times, even though the ground game has been solid, he said. This is the fourth time in five games that the run game has earned at least 200 yards. With a few more completed passes, defenses won’t be able to key on Andrew.
Lyons said his tailback/defensive back has been playing very well on both sides of the ball.
North Surry gave its second unit plenty of snaps in the second half, but the lone score came from the defense.
Some good runs and a big pickup via the air on third down allowed Atkins to have its best drive of the night. The Camels moved from their own 29 to the Hounds’ 21-yard line.
Then a sack knocked the ball loose. Senior Nick Huff picked the ball up and ran 70 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. With Garcia’s kick, it was 33-0 with four seconds left in the third quarter.
“I don’t know how he knew it, but Nick told me right before that series that he was going to score a touchdown,” said the coach. The senior got his first varsity TD to finish the scoring.
Between a couple of long kick returns and turnovers on the wrong side of midfield, the defense was put in some tough spots, said Lyons. Preserving the shutout was a big confidence boost for his team.
Next week, the Hounds host West Stanly. From what he’s seen, Lyons said West Stanly looks to have a lot of talent, so his team will have to play well.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.