West Stokes opened their 2018 football season scoring a touchdown in each quarter and three interceptions for a 34-13 non-conference win over county-rival South Stokes on Friday night in Walnut Cove.
“We did some good things tonight, but we had too many penalties and shot ourselves in the foot at times,” said Wildcat coach Jimmy Upchurch. “I thought Tyler (Smith) led our offense well and the defense played to expectations. Give credit to coach (Mike) Holmes and those kids. They have two really good running backs and will win some ballgames this year.”
The Wildcats lit up the board midway through the first quarter on a punt that went off the side of the foot of Saura kicker Ivan Caro. Junior Cortlen Dutton fielded the ball and dashed 30-yards to score. Caleb Peters nailed the extra-point for the 7-0 advantage.
South responded after consecutive turnovers by both teams and hit pay dirt when senior Adam McMillian rumbled 5-yards with two seconds left in the first period. Caro spilt the upright and knotted the score at seven.
West Stokes put some distance between the two teams in the second quarter after scoring two touchdowns. They used 11 plays and overcame two penalties when Chris Brown scampered 40-yards on a reverse for the 14-7 edge. The visitor’s defense forced a three-and-out and the Sauras punted on the ensuing possession.
After another 10-yard penalty, the Cats only needed one play to cover 85-yards on a pass down the left sideline from Smith to Kelin Parsons for the 21-7 lead with 5:13 remaining in the half.
South Stokes threatened to score when they marched down to the Wildcats 23 yard line in 10 plays. Parsons second interception in the end zone ended the threat with less than a minute in the half. West pushed ahead 21-7 at the break.
During halftime, the Sauras honored football players Jackson Boles and Steven Fatz. Both earned wrestling state championship wins in February and the athletes were presented commemorative rings for their accomplishment.
West Stokes received the opening second half kickoff and owned time of possession throughout the third quarter. They scored on a 13 play drive that covered 53-yards when Amon Conrad pushed through from six-yards out with 2:13 left. The extra point failed after a bad snap and West led 27-7.
In the fourth, the Wildcats put the game out of reach on a 69-yard sprint by Brown for his second score of the game. The Sauras added a late touchdown when senior Ryan Moses punched in an 11-yard run with less than a minute remaining.
“I told the kids after the game that I would put ours up against anybody,” said Saura coach Mike Holmes. “The problem is our kids play both sides of the ball and ultimately play eight quarters each game. We have to condition better. I also told the kids when they go home and watch the film, don’t look at the highlights, but look at the lowlights. Look what you could have done differently. Give them credit, they found our weakness when we had inexperienced guys in there and they capitalized on it.”
Brown recorded 152-yards rushing for the Wildcats on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Smith was 7-for-15 and 94-yards passing. South’s McMillian ran for 135-yards on 18 carries and one score, while Moses contributed 22 carries for 98-yards and a touchdown.
Newcomers Devin Stanley paced the Wildcats with 14 tackles and Tanner Tyndall chimed in with 10. Parsons pulled in three interceptions, a new school record. Fatz, the Sauras linebacker, led all tacklers with 16 in the contest and Garrett Dodson added six for South.
West Stokes improves to 1-0 on the season and will host 1A powerhouse Mount Airy (1-0) on Friday at Wildcat Stadium. South falls 0-1 and will travel to 1-0 North Wilkes on Friday as well. Both games are slated to start at 7:30 p.m.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.