PILOT MOUNTAIN — It was a good night to be a Gosnell.
East Surry sophomore Stephen Gosnell led the Cardinals in a demolition of Bishop McGuinness, while his older sister, Tabitha, was crowned the new Homecoming Queen. The Cards were nearly perfect on offense, defense, and special teams in their 48-0 victory.
Stephen Gosnell made an immediate impact as the quarterback for the Cards. Even without starting QB Jefferson Boaz, East Surry drove down the field on their first drive looking to score. Gosnell, normally a wide receiver, took the ball on himself into the end zone on the first drive. However, the run was taken back due to a holding call on East. Though the Cardinals were forced to punt on their first drive, Quincy Smith made up for it by intercepting the Villains’ first pass for a pick-six and put the home team up 7-0.
Bishop McGuinness struggled to mount an effective offense in the first quarter. The Villains suffered a loss of yards on their first play, a delay of game and near interception on the second play, and a fumble that Bishop recovered on third down.
East Surry took over in its own territory, but wouldn’t be there for long. Strong rushing from Gosnell and Logan Ray brought the Cards into the red zone, dragging Bishop defenders with them. Logan Ray failed to run the ball into the end zone, but was saved by a personal foul call on the Villains. Gosnell then had a four-yard run to put East Surry up 14-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
The game quickly got out of control as the Villains kept giving the ball back to East Surry. Mitchell Edwards put the Cardinals in great field position by recovering a fumble by Bishop QB Jake Babcock. With only two minutes off the clock since the Cardinals second touchdown, Logan Ray added to the lead with a three-yard TD run to put East up 21-0.
Bishop McGuinness got off lucky with another three-and-out with Edwards nearly intercepting Babcock’s pass on third down. The Villains’ punt was their highlight of the game thus far, pinning the Cards behind their own five-yard line. This would prove irrelevant to the rushing core of East Surry. Gosnell and Joey Ray moved the chains time after time and were in the red zone by the opening minutes of the second quarter. A 20-yard run by Gosnell put the Cards in striking distance for Joey Ray to run for East Surry’s fourth touchdown of the evening.
Things went from bad to worse for Bishop McGuinness, who desperately needed to get on the board. Babcock looked to pass downfield, but East Surry’s A.J. Bruton had other plans. The Cardinal junior intercepted Babcock’s pass and took it to the end zone. The Cardinals first significant shortcoming of the game occurred on the PAT, when kicker Ryan Sutterby’s attempt was blocked by the Villain defense. Still, the Cardinals lead 34-0 and it wasn’t even close to halftime.
Another Bishop fumble was returned by the Cardinals to add to their spectacular defensive performance, but was called back due to a penalty on the Cards. Even when they weren’t forcing fumbles or interceptions, the East Surry defense did a great job of containing runs and putting pressure on the opposing QB. Austin Pardue had a monster hit on a Villain tailback and two sacks by Cardinal defenders forced another punt from Bishop. This allowed Joey Ray to take the ball the length of the field before Gosnell ran in a 30-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals up 41-0 at the half.
Bishop received the halftime kickoff, but gave the ball back to East Surry when Trevor Hauser intercepted a pass on the Villains’ second play. Logan Ray’s rushing took the Cards close to the end zone, but the team settled for a 40-yard field goal try. Bishop’s opportunity to capitalize came when the field goal fell short, but once again, the Villains forced to punt.
The third quarter flew by due to both teams keeping the ball on the ground. It wouldn’t be until the final play of the quarter that either team was able to score, with the honor going to East Surry. Edwards’ touchdown run put the Cards up 48-0 with a quarter left to play.
Quarter number four saw the starters leave the field and the clock run continuously to zero. East Surry’s dominant performance put them over .500 for the second time this season. The Cards look to build their record even more when they travel to Winston-Salem Prep next week.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith