KING — The West Stokes defense found a way to slow Blaze Acord to defeat North Surry 21-12 in the season finale.
Acord has rushed for more than 200 yards in a few games, but the Wildcats pinned the running game back to 39 yards on 14 carries, less than three yards per rush.
Greyhounds Offensive Coach Tanner Hiatt said that the plan Friday was to use the run attack against the Wildcats, but that was dependent upon the line being able to block effectively.
Lanes for the Greyhound running backs were not as open tonight and defensive line plays was not at its best for the Hounds.
Early in the first quarter Keyshawn Rawley hit Brock Reynolds and drew blood but the Wildcats kicker missed the extra point. The score was then 6-0.
North Surry quarterback Austin Handy then connected with Shawn Dehart to get the Hounds’ first points on the board tying the match 6-6. The Hounds missed the extra point as well.
As a whole, the Greyhound offense had about 175 yards, the lowest output of the season, according to Coach Danny Lyons. He credited the Wildcats for playing great defense.
Zack “Monster” Manley for the Wildcats spent most of his night shutting down the passing and rushing attack of the Wildcats offense. Wildcat Brett Whittington also seemed especially eager to help out shutting down the rush and pass attack that has been so exceptional this year for the Hounds. The entire defensive line of the Wildcats mostly dominated at the line of scrimmage.
Offensively, it seemed the tables had turned. Rashad Witherspoon, Brock Reynolds and Austin Long put up great numbers for the Wildcats offense.
The Greyhounds Dakota Goss and Shawn Dehart led the defensive effort, but the team could not seem to get their defense off the field.
The Wildcats, the defending 2A state champions, got off to a terrible start on the season, going 1-4 including a loss to the Mount Airy Bears to open Northwest Conference play. After that, the Cats finished the season 6-5 overall.
This win put North Surry, West Stokes and South Stokes in a three-way tie for second place at 5-2 in conference play.
The Hounds opened the season with six straight wins and finished 8-2 overall.
Lyons consoled his team after the loss, reminding them that the eight is a lot more important than the two in their record. North will still make the 2A state playoffs, but will be the second seed from the Northwest as the win gives West Stokes the top seed for the playoffs.
After the 6-6 first-quarter tie, the Hounds took the lead on a trick play. Handy gave the ball to Acord, who threw to Josh Cox for a 29-yard TD catch for a 12-6 lead.
The point-after try again failed.
Then with about a minute and a half left in the second quarter, the Wildcats scored and made a two-point conversion for a 14-12 lead.
North couldn’t score in the second half, and the Cats added an insurance score for a 21-12 margin.
The Hound’s defense continued to spend a lot time on the field and soon wore down because the offense couldn’t sustain any drives, said Lyons. Every time the offense got moving, something went wrong.
West Stokes had 136 yards rushing, but tried 55 times to do it for a 2.5 yards-per-carry average.
The Cats’ passing attack was 5-11 for 100 yards and Rashad Witherspoon had a busy evening rushing.
Field position was key for both teams.
Two of their three touchdowns came on fourth-down passes to all-conference player Brock Reynolds, noted Lyons.
The game seemed to come down to five or six crucial plays like that, and the Hounds didn’t make enough plays.
He noted that senior cornerback D.J. Boyles made a critical interception in the end zone, and Dakota Goss blocked a punt, but some other plays went West Stokes’ way.
Lyons said linebacker George Rumplasch missed the game because of an injury. He said Rumplasch has been bothered by a sore shoulder much of the season and it popped out of socket in pregame warmups.