MOUNT HOLLY — It didn’t take East Lincoln long to live up to its lofty preseason ranking.
Sophomore quarterback Chazz Surratt accounted for 297 total yards and five touchdowns as the Mustangs opened their season at East Gaston Friday with a 37-22 win.
The victory was East Lincoln’s 17th in a row, dating back to last year’s undefeated state 2A title run. Picked No. 1 statewide among the 2A ranks by several online high school sports publications, the Mustangs also have a preseason all-state pick in Surratt, who moved under center from the wing this year and took the reins from record-setting quarterback Garrett Young.
Surratt rushed for 161 yards and four TDs, and added a TD through the air on 14 of 26 passing for 136 yards.
East Lincoln (1-0) added a safety in the fourth quarter.
Surratt had TD runs of 20, 10 and 6 yards for a 21-0 lead at halftime. The Warriors (0-1) got back in it in the third quarter with a pair of scores from Austin Woods (1-yard run) and Morgan Ensley (2-yard run), but East Lincoln blew it open in the fourth.
Surratt added his fourth rushing TD on another 6-yard run, then its defense stopped Corey Thompson in the end zone for a 31-15 lead.
Surratt connected with Sage Surratt from 27 yards out to go up 37-15. Kicker Blake Strupp was 5-for-5 on PATs.
Woods’ 13-yard pass to George Miller accounted for East Gaston’s final score.
Damarius Valentine had 107 yards rushing on 15 carries as the Mustangs totaled 408 yards of offense. Their defense held the Warriors to 227.