PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry shut down Starmount for a 27-6 win Friday night.
The Rams scored 23 points on Mount Airy last week, but couldn’t break through against a stellar Cardinal defense until the last play of the game.
“First off, it was an extremely physical game for both teams,” said Coach David Diamont. “I feel very good about the effort from the team.”
The stands were packed for the home opener, which began with a tribute to coaching legend Barry Hall.
Then after Starmount received the kickoff, the Cards forced a three-and-out.
The punt snap was low, and punter Josh Houser had to pick the ball off the ground and make a quick kick.
The short ball bounced up, and John Snow grabbed it and returned it all the way to the Rams 30-yard line.
From there, quarterback John Dickenson hit Gage Edwards with a long pass down the right sideline. Edwards was tackled out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
Lucas Koons finished off the drive for a 6-0 lead just 2:43 into the game. The extra point was just off to the left.
“Our defensive coordinator Randy Marion and special teams coach David Johnson did an outstanding job of preparing our kids tonight,” said Diamont. The Cards blocked two punts and hurried the punter into two short kicks.
On the next drive, the Rams lost the ball on second down, and Christian Shinault fell on the ball at the Rams 38-yard line.
East Surry marched down to the 22-yard line before a bad snap backed them up. Then a sack led to a punt.
After a touchback, the Cards forced another three-and-out and got the ball back at their 28-yard line.
Koons ripped off two long runs all the way to Starmount’s 27.
The drive made it to the 14 before East went backward. The team recovered its own fumble, then had a holding call, a sack and a delay of game to bring up fourth and 32.
Madison Chilton booted a long punt that was downed at the 11-yard line.
With the clock moving into the second quarter, both teams traded punts before the Rams got the ball on their 26-yard line.
Unable to move the ball, the Rams lined up to punt with Houser back at his 15. J.T. Lichtenberger broke free, blocked the punt, scooped it up and raced 15 yards to the end zone.
With the extra point, the Cards led 13-0 with 3:21 left in the half.
After another three-and-out, the Rams tried another punt. This time Jerry Galloway got a hand on the ball, which made it just to the 41-yard line. However, the Cards couldn’t capitalize and kept the score at 13-0 at the half.
To open the third quarter Chase Brewster took the opening kickoff to midfield. The Cards moved down the field before Dickenson was picked off in the red zone.
John Johnson broke up two passes in the first half and made a leaping grab at the 7-yard line.
The Rams couldn’t move the ball yet again and punted back to East Surry. The offense rolled along before Dickenson found Brewster in the end zone for an 8-yard TD pass. That made it 20-0.
Brewster added one more highlight on the next drive.
Starmount went for it on fourth-and-one. A toss play to the left saw the ball hit the turf and Brewster dove for it at the 41-yard line.
East went as close as the 15-yard line before a penalty and sack halted the drive.
The next Ram drive also ended with a fumble as Shinault made his second recovery at the 30.
After a false start bumped East back to the 35, Koons took a handoff around the left end and into the end zone for a TD. That made it 27-0 with 5:51 left before the Rams scored on the last play of the game.
“We had an outstanding home crowd,” said Diamont. “That’s always encouraging. We had good special teams effort, and effort by all the guys overall.”
The Cardinals travel to North Surry next Friday. Both teams are 2-0.