South Stokes football team opened up Northwest 1A Conference play by holding off Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy 21-20 Friday night at Atkins High School. The Phoenix scored a late touchdown with 4:20 left in the contest, but Steven Fatz and the Saura defense stuffed the extra-point to help secure the win.
“We played much better this week,” said Saura coach Mike Holmes. “It’s the third straight week that we have executed better. After watching film, we felt we could exploit some areas with really aggressive play. We were able to hit some big runs downfield and some passing opportunities when they presented themselves.”
The Phoenix threatened to score in the first quarter, but a fumble recovery by senior Garrett Dodson halted the home team’s drive on the 16-yard line and the first quarter ended deadlocked at zero.
At the beginning of the second, Matthew Montgomery’s 48-yard interception return set up a first-and-goal for the visitors. Winston-Salem stuffed the first two run plays setting up a third-and-goal from the one. Fischer rolled out to pass and had to avoid a sack around the 16-yard line, but then found Ryan Moses standing in the end zone for the first score of the game. Ivan Caro tacked on the extra-point for an early 7-0 advantage.
South forced the Phoenix to punt on their next possession and Fischer’s 20-yard return set the Sauras up on Prep’s side of the field. Facing a third-and-11 on the 43-yard line, Fischer found Javon Gore streaking down the middle of the field for pay dirt. Caro missed the point after, but South led 13-0 with less than five minutes before the half.
Prep quickly responded with several big plays on their next drive, but none bigger than the fourth-and- five they picked up for a first down. A questionable late hit out-of-bounds call moved them to the Sauras 11-yard line. After a five yard penalty, they closed the score on a 16-yard touchdown reception and a successful two-point play to make the score 13-8 at halftime.
The Phoenix took their first 14-13 lead after they forced another punt by the Sauras early in the third period and then scored on a 51-yard reception. Fatz’s sack prevented Prep from taking a three-point edge with a tackle in the back field.
Winston looked to add to their score at the start of the last quarter, but a stop on fourth down in Sauras territory by Dodson and Fatz gave the ball back to the maroon and gold. Adam McMillian picked up 9-yards and then Fischer ran off 43-yards giving South a first down on the 15-yard line. Fischer was tackled for a loss on the next play, but came up firing on second down when he threw a swing pass to McMillian for the touchdown. Moses ran in the extra point for the 21-14 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
On the Phoenix’s ensuing possession, they threatened to take the lead and game. They overcame two big penalties, a touchdown called back, and then scored on a 15-yard dash to the end zone that made the score 21-20.
“Our defense played very well tonight,” Holmes added. “They gave us some great field position and helped seal the game for us. I thought we adapted to the game situations and played well.”
Fischer was 4-of-9 for 102-yards passing and three TDs. He rushed for 88-yards on 15 carries and had five tackles and two interceptions on defense. McMillian rushed for 80-yards and collected a 16-yard touchdown reception. Fatz paced the defense with 21 tackles. Cooper Ross added 12, Dodson 11 tackles and fumble recovery, while Montgomery grabbed an interception.
South improves to 1-6 and 1-0 in conference play. The Phoenix drops to 3-4 and 0-1. The Sauras will travel to Mount Airy, the state’s number one team in 1A, on Friday and Prep will play East Surry.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.