By MICHAEL GEBELEIN
NEWTON –– East Lincoln quarterback Chazz Surratt eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season on Friday while leading the Mustangs to a 48-7 win over the Newton-Conover Red Devils in Southern District 7 Athletic 2A play.
Surratt accounted for five of the Mustangs’ touchdowns, with two on the ground and three through the air.
East Lincoln’s offense turned its first seven possessions into touchdowns and its defense was just as effective at stopping Newton-Conover. The Red Devils scored their lone touchdown near the halfway mark of the fourth quarter on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Cameron Stanley to wide receiver Josh Ramseur. East Lincoln’s defense was dominant up until that point, with one blocked punt, two fourth-down stops, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
“(The defense) has been solid all year,” East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus said. “They just play really good team defense. They do a good job fitting where they’re supposed to fit.”
Byus said a runaway game was the last thing he expected, particularly given the competitive nature of the series between the two teams, which Newton-Conover now leads 10-5.
“They have athletes and they have big kids,” Byus said of the Red Devils. “We prepared to come out here and play four quarters. They’ll get it together. They have a good staff and they have some good kids.”
The Mustangs (7-1, 4-0) cruised to a 41-0 halftime lead on the strength of 278 halftime yards and three touchdowns by Surratt. He threw two of his three touchdown passes in the first quarter, broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run in the first and connected with Sage Surratt, his freshman brother, for an 11-yard touchdown strike in the second.
Malik Nixon and Chris Tomberlin both added rushing touchdowns for the Mustangs in the second quarter.
The Red Devils started to gain traction in the third quarter, partly thanks to wholesale substitutions by the Mustangs.
Newton-Conover (2-6, 1-3) crossed into East Lincoln territory on its first two possessions of the second half, only to see the drives ended by interceptions thrown by Stanley.
The Red Devils began their lone scoring drive just shy of midfield and moved into the East Lincoln red zone with a 10-yard pass by Stanley to Ramseur and a pair of runs by senior running back Nick Baker for 23 total yards. Stanley was sacked by the East Lincoln defense on first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, but three plays later the quarterback connected with Ramseur for the touchdown strike.