DENVER — East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus continues his winning streak — now his 72nd win over his career with the Mustangs — as they overpowered the East Gaston Warriors 54-30 on Friday.
East Lincoln set the tone early, as the Mustangs put two touchdowns on the scoreboard in the first 4.5 minutes of play. Warrior Dante Walker answered with a touchdown for East Gaston, but didn’t keep the Mustangs back for long.
With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, senior East Lincoln running back Marquis Pharr picked up a touchdown for his team, one of the three he scored that night. As East Lincoln was getting ready to wrap up the last minute of the first quarter, the Warriors responded with another touchdown and a two-point conversion to close the gap by five, which had the home-team fans buzzing.
Freshman Mustang Chaz Suratt and Pharr led the East Lincoln offense through the following quarters, together totaling 181 of the team’s overall 234 rushing yards. East Gaston was held, scoring no points the rest of the first half, as the Mustangs completed passes, recovered fumbles and turned around troubled plays by their competitors.
Junior East Lincoln linebacker Cody Mocilan, recovered a dropped ball after a pitch play by East Gaston went wrong, bringing the Mustangs further down the field and putting his team in good field position for future plays. Senior quarterback Garrett Young completed a pass to Surratt that put the Mustangs ahead 35-16.
Though East Gaston couldn’t add any numbers to the board, a 45-yard pass completion by junior Bryant Robins had fans hopeful to draw in closer on the 12-point lead of the Mustangs. A roughing-the-kicker call against East Lincoln at the end of the first quarter kept the players on the field for one more play that didn’t bring East Gaston any closer to a win.
At halftime Byus was recognized as East Lincoln’s head coach with the most wins in school history. A banner of Byus was held by the fire department for the remainder of the game.
“The biggest factors (contributing to his record) were a great coaching staff and great kids,” Byus said. “I’ve just been along for the ride.”
In the last half of the game, the Warriors’ defense seemed to be working harder to hold off their competitors, but with little success.
In the final quarter, Walker and Austin Woods wrapped up the defeat with two more touchdowns, chipping away at the East Lincoln lead. Woods led the Warriors in rushing yards, moving the ball 109 of the team’s total 202 yards on Friday.
“The team did pretty good overall,” Byus said. “Now we just have to get back to the drawing board; we need to start tackling better.”
The Mustangs are continuing their undefeated streak, with four wins, going into their homecoming game against Bessemer City this week.