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PILOT MOUNTAIN – East Surry won the Foothills 2A Conference Championship on Friday beating Surry Central 47-0.

The Cardinals, who end the regular season with a 9-0 overall record, have now won the conference championships for the past three seasons. The 2019-20 and 2020-21 titles were won at the Northwest 1A Conference, and this is East’s first season in Division 2A.

Winning the FH2A championship, East Surry coach Trent Lowman said, “It’s a relief we did, but it’s what we expect to do. I’m glad we did, and I’m glad we did as well as we did in the league and out of the conference.

East wins the conference with a perfect 6-0 record. If Surry Central had beaten East Surry on Friday, the two would split the conference title at 5-1.

The Cardinals, while eliminating their third opponent of the season, racked up a total of 567 total yards: 364 in the air and 203 rushing.

“I’m proud of the guys. I think we’re probably peaking right now as we have every year, ”said Lowman, who is currently in his fourth season with the program. “I think our strategy is working, and I think we’re the best we’ve been all year so far. I’m just proud of them for all the hard work and effort they put in.

Surry Central drops to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in conference with Friday’s loss. The Eagles are dropping back-to-back games for just the second time this season and – since North Surry and Forbush both won on Friday night – are tied at three for second in the conference.

“We’ve had a tough night,” said Surry Central coach Monty Southern. “They are undefeated for a reason. We had the right frame of mind and the guys played really hard, but it’s just a really good football team. They came out very strong. “

Everything happened very early in the direction of the cardinals. East Surry scored 20 points in the first quarter while racking up 235 attacking yards in the first 12 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Surry Central was limited to under 25 total yards during the quarter.

The Cardinals played 19 offensive games in the first quarter. Quarterback Folger Boaz completed seven passes for 144 yards, and he and Trey Armstrong combined 12 carries for 91 yards. Boaz set a new career high in a game of 464 total yards with 354 passing yards and 110 rushing yards.

Boaz sent 40 and 50 yard passes to Layton Allen and Luke Brown, but the first touchdowns came on the ground. Armstrong scored twice in the first quarter, and Boaz found the paydirt once. That momentum continued into the opening minutes of the second quarter where Boaz threw his first of two passing touchdowns to give East Surry a 26-0 lead.

Surry Central’s offense struggled to get off the ground until the second quarter. East Surry’s Brett Clayton and Daniel Villasenor each had sacks in the first quarter, and Central’s Avery Wilmoth was also selected by Armstrong.

Wilmoth had the Eagles’ second first down of the game with a 25-yard goal for Dante Watson. Wilmoth and Karson Crouse alternated scopes until a pass from Wilmoth to Crouse put the Eagles just outside the red zone.

“After the first quarter we really settled down,” said Southern. “The defense really made them work (East) and the offense started to move the ball well.”

A penalty from Cardinal moved the Eagles to the 13-yard line, but a few big penalties took Central away from the end zone. The Golden Eagles ended up hitting near midfielder after the 13 games, 8:38 by car.

East Surry started off their own 8-yard line with 1:27 left in the half. The Cardinals offense saved Boaz time for three double-digit yards and a 13-yard rush.

Brown caught a 7-yard catch to finish second and 3 on the Eagles’ 29 when Boaz threw a pass to the end zone that was caught by North Carolina interception leader Memphis Bolatto. The pick was Bolatto’s 10th this season, which puts him in the top 10 nationally.

Surry Central kicked off the second half and quickly moved into Cardinal territory. However, sacks from Clayton and Joseph Grezmak brought the Golden Eagles closer to the midfielder and forced the visitors to punt.

East followed with its longest ride of the night. The Cardinals nearly faced a three-and-out after Cole Butcher sacked Boaz, but the QB was able to complete a 9-yard pass to Armstrong on the third and 7 to keep the drive alive.

East Surry converted three third downs on the drive that lasted nine games and 4:36 of playing time. The latest of those third down conversions saw Boaz rush for a 15-yard gain. Surry Central struggled to bring down the slippery quarterback, but managed to tackle East Surry coach Tim Bodford at the end of the game. Bodford managed to catch up and finish the game .

Two plays later, Boaz completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Armstrong. Stephen Brantley nailed PAT to give the East a 33-0 lead.

Surry Central had a good field position in his next practice thanks to a good comeback, but Hatcher Hamm then forced a fumble which was recovered by Armstrong. The Cardinals held the ball for another more than four-minute practice before Boaz scored on a four-yard rush.

East Surry’s final points came late in the fourth quarter. Grezmak blocked a center punt and picked it up himself. Four games later, Will Jones threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Creech.

For Surry Central: Wilmoth completed 3 of 7 passes for 21 yards and one interception; Watson had one reception for 25 yards and Crouse had two receptions for a 4-yard loss; Crouse ran 15 times for 52 yards, Wilmoth ran 11 times for 16 yards, Brian Williams rushed five times for 32 yards, and Lucas Johnson rushed once for two yards.

For East Surry: Boaz completed 28 of 35 passes for 354 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and Jones completed his only pass attempt for a 10-yard touchdown; Boaz rushed 13 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns, Armstrong rushed eight times for 60 yards and two touchdowns, and Eli Beck carried seven times for 33 yards; Allen had nine receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown, Brown had five receptions for 96 yards, Colby Johnson had five receptions for 47 yards, Brantley had two receptions for 28 yards and Creech had a reception for 10 yards and a touchdown.

By winning the FH2A conference, East Surry is given an automatic bid for the State Playoffs. The winners of the last three 1A West Regional Championships face a new challenge in Division 2A.

“We’re getting ready to meet a bus in these 2A playoffs, so we’ll see what we have,” Lowman said. “When the regular season ends, it’s just varsity. All the coaches are part of the university… so the focus can increase in training and there are eyes on everyone with every game. We can coach everyone.

Surry Central will likely head to the playoffs given the latest RPI rankings from the NC High School Athletic Association.

“These guys have been resilient all year,” Southern said. “I know this loss hurts to be a county rival and have a shot at winning the conference championship, but come Monday it’s a whole new season. I told them after the game that next week there will be 64 2A teams in the state of North Carolina playing football. We will heal physically and mentally and be ready for work next week.

* Update: The NCHSAA released material for the upcoming football playoffs on Saturday. No.2 East Surry will host No.31 Newton-Conover (3-6) and No.19 Surry Central will travel to No.14 West Lincoln (8-2).

Rating

Surry Central – 0, 0, 0, 0 = 0

Surry East – 20, 6, 7, 14 = 47

1Q

8:38 ESHS 6-0 – Trey Armstrong 2 rushing yards TD, PAT not good

4:18 ESHS 14-0 – Trey Armstrong 7-yard rushing TD, Folger Boaz passes to Stephen Brantley for 2-point conversion

2:25 ESHS 20-0 – Folger Boaz TD from 3 rushing yards, PAT not good

2Q

11:46 ESHS 26-0 – Folger Boaz passes to Layton Allen 5 yards TD receiving, PAT not good

3Q

3:29 ESHS 33-0 – Folger Boaz passes to Trey Armstrong receiving a 5-yard TD, Stephen Brantley PAT

4Q

10:46 ESHS 40-0 – Folger Boaz TD from 4 yards rushing, Stephen Brantley PAT

3:29 ESHS 47-0 – Will Jones passes to Daniel Creech receiving a 10-yard TD, Stephen Brantley PAT