WALKERTOWN — Seniors Blake Marion and Eddie Scott want the 2015 football season to be a special one for East Surry, and the two Cardinal playmakers came through on Friday night when their team faced adversity at Walkertown.
Scott forced three turnovers while Marion scored twice in a second-half comeback to hellp East Surry (6-0, 1-0) defeat Walkertown 37-21.
“I definitely saw a side of our team I haven’t seen all year,” Marion said. “We maybe have been down one time all year, so that’s a big-time win for us in conference, and hopefully we can continue that.”
A normally prolific East Surry offense needed help from both the defensive and special teams units on Friday. Six forced turnovers and two returns for touchdowns ended up being more than enough.
Both offenses stalled on their opening drive, but East Surry took an early lead thanks to its first special teams score of the night.
Scott came in from the right side and blocked a Walkertown (3-5, 2-1) punt. The ball popped up in the air and into the arms of Shawn Creed, who returned it 18 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Walkertown immediately responded though, going 45 yards in a minute and a half. Ian McKnight found Haji Mcdaniels in the corner of the end zone for a 26-yard score on fourth-and-10. It was the first of two fourth-down touchdown passes for the Wolfpack.
The Cardinals regained the lead on their next series. Penalties played a part though, as East Surry settled for a 26-yard field goal from Devon Goble rather than a touchdown.
Walkertown jumped ahead of the Cardinals for the first time on its ensuing drive. Marcus Admas found a hole up the middle and exploded through it for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 14-10 late in the first quarter.
A touchdown run from Joey Ray in the second quarter gave East Surry a 17-14 lead, but then the Wolfpack found magic on fourth down yet again.
Walkertown went for it on fourth-and-22 from the Cardinal 23-yard line. A funky formation confused the East Surry defense, and McKnight found Kendrick Campbell down the middle of the field for a touchdown and a 21-17 lead Walkertown carried into the half.
“I sort of looked in their eyes at halftime and some of them had doubt,” coach David Diamont said. “I reminded them that this was good for us. … I thought we played exceptional in the second half, and the defense stepped up.”
The dynamic Wolfpack offense was completely shut down in the second half. East Surry allowed 239 yards of offense and three scores in the first two quarters, but the Cardinals pitched a shutout in the final 24 minutes.
Walkertown received the ball to start the third quarter and looked to get its first two-score lead, but Scott stepped up once again for the Cardinals.
Scott stripped Adams and forced a fumble on the Wolfpack’s first drive of the second half and gave East Surry some needed life and confidence.
The Cardinals cashed in on this turnover with a four-play drive primarily on the ground. A Joey Ray 43-yard touchdown run capped off the drive and gave the Cardinals a 24-21 lead.
“Eddie has a role to play, and he played that role. When it comes his time, he goes out and gets it, and it all came together tonight,” Diamont said.
Scott stripped another ball away for East Surry on Walkertown’s next drive, but the Cardinals couldn’t take advantage and turned the ball over on downs.
The rest of the third quarter was quiet, but the fourth period started with a bang.
On the first play, quarterback Tyler Smith found Blake Marion over the middle on a deep slant route. The wide receiver made the catch and turned it up field for an 82-yard touchdown.
After a three-and-out stop by the Cardinals, Marion was at it again. For the second time in as many games, Marion went the distance on a punt return, this time for 72 yards down the left sideline and an insurmountable 37-21 lead.
Marion finished the night with just four catches, but he accumulated 124 yards with some deep receptions.
“I knew in the second half somebody was going to have to make some plays, so I stepped up,” Marion said.
With the win, East Surry knocked off a previous unbeaten in the Northwest Conference. The Cardinals will now look to keep this momentum going with a short turnaround against Atkins on Monday.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16