South Stokes claimed their first conference win since Oct. of 2012 on Friday night after moving from 2A and settling into the Northwest 1A Conference this season. The Sauras defeated Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy 32-28 for an exciting homecoming victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team tonight and the way our defense played,” said Sauras coach Mike Holmes. “Our defense has been the backbone of our team even when the offense has sputtered this year.”
The Phoenix lit up the board first when Daishawn Cameron found Zack Austin for a 53-yard pick-up to set up first-and-goal on the 6-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the 13, Cameron found Austin again for the 6-0 lead with 9:48 left in the quarter.
Minutes later, PT Fischer stepped in front of Cameron’s pass and returned it 55-yards for a Saura touchdown. The extra-point attempt failed and the game was tied at six going into the second frame.
The second quarter started with Steven Fatz tackling the Phoenix for a safety to give the Sauras an 8-6 lead. Caro made a 32-yard field goal on the ensuing possession putting South at an 11-6 advantage.
On the Sauras next possession, they drove to the visiting team’s 19-yard line where they faced a third-and-eight. Quarterback Austin Lilly dropped back and Elijah Christian intercepted his pass and returned it 84-yards for the score with 4:58 left before the half. The touchdown gave Winston-Salem Prep a 12-11 lead.
The Sauras bounced back quickly and scored on a 17-yard run by Ryan Moses with 1:54 left. Caro added the extra point to push his team ahead 18-12.
On Prep’s next play, Fatz stepped in front of Cameron’s pass for the Sauras second interception of the night. Adam McMillan moved South Stokes down to the 4-yard line after two runs giving them first-and-goal with just a little under a minute left in the half. Lilly again stepped back to throw and Christian intercepted and returned it 99-yards to give the Phoenix a 20-18 lead.
In the third quarter, the Sauras gained control and went up 32-20 on a 28-yard touchdown run by McMillan and another 13-yard run with 3:11 left in the quarter.
Winston-Salem Prep responded and scored on an 8-yard sprint closing the gap 32-28 after the two point run by Cameron with over nine minutes left. The Phoenix continued to put pressure on the Sauras and forced a fumble with 8:26 left in the game. The visitors took the ball to the 10-yard line and turned the ball over on downs on stellar defense by South.
After a forced punt, Prep had one more shot at the lead. They drove to the 3-yard line, but the Sauras defense forced a fumble and gained possession with 28 seconds left in the game.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” stated Holmes. “Keylan Coe played every play on the line except two tonight. Fatz has been the unspoken hero of our defense this year and leads the team with 80 tackles in seven games. Keylan, Jacob Smith, Drew Pressley, and Silas Smith have provided that senior leadership this team needs.”
The Sauras finished with 366 total yards of offense. McMillan added 143 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns and Moses had 123 yards rushing on 26 carries and one touchdown.
Fatz led the team with 10 tackles, John Williams added nine and Kaleb Bratton six.
The Sauras (3-4, 1-0) host number two ranked Mount Airy (7-0, 1-0) on Friday night in Walnut Cove at 7:30 p.m.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.