PILOT MOUNTAIN — Fourth-seeded East Surry started fast and never let up in a 42-0 blowout of No. 5 Mooresville Pine Lake Prep in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 1-AA playoffs Friday night.
The Cardinals now take on rival Mount Airy in a second-round game next Friday night at Mount Airy.
Jose Juarez picked up 25 yards on the first play from scrimmage for the Cardinals (9-3), and Joey Ray outran the Pride’s defense on the next play to score on a 50-yard run.
Ray, who scored a second touchdown later in the quarter on a 7-yard run, paid full credit to his team’s offensive line, especially on his first score.
“When I got the ball, I saw a huge hole and I just hit it,” he said. “But I give full credit to our O-line. They were just phenomenal.”
Quarterback Trevor Hauser also felt the Cardinals dominated play up front.
“Our offensive line pushed all night,” he said. “They just manhandled everyone. I expected it to be a little closer, but I felt from the start that our guys were stronger than theirs.”
While East Surry stayed primarily on the ground, its third touchdown came through the air when Hauser hit wide receiver Quincy Smith with an 11-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Juarez scored later in the period on a 3-yard run as the Cardinals led 28-0 at halftime.
Ray carried the ball nine times for 127 yards in the first half. He played sparingly in the second half.
Coach David Diamont of the Cardinals said his team was more or less flying blind going into the game.
“I didn’t really know what to expect from Pine Lake Prep,” he said. “I don’t know much about their staff, their style, their strategies.”
Diamont admitted the Cardinals played well in all phases.
“Joey Ray is a special running back, and our offensive line did another excellent job,” he said. “Our defense has improved every week. We just executed very well.”
Before the game ended, the Cardinals were talking about next week’s game against Mount Airy.
East Surry spoiled Mount Airy’s senior night, and its quest for an undefeated regular season, earlier this month with a 21-10 upset.
“I am sure we are not going to catch them by surprise this time,” Diamont said. “We changed our offense a little bit last time. I know they will be ready. They are a great high school football team.”
Hauser said he doesn’t expect there will be any changes for Mount Airy this time.
“It will be the same game plan,” he said. “We want to just go up there and play smash-mouth football and try and out-tough them.”
The Cardinals scored twice in the fourth quarter, a 6-yard run by Mitchell Edwards and a 2-yard run by Garrett Barker. Ryan Sutterby converted on all six of his extra-point attempts.
The Pride never threatened to score against the Cardinals’ dominating defense. The closest they got to the East Surry end zone in the first half was the 20-yard line.