After forfeiting three wins last week East Lincoln tried to get them all back against West Caldwell on Friday night.
Not really. It just seemed that way.
Quarterback Chazz Surratt threw for career highs of 349 yards and five touchdowns and the Mustangs matched a school record for points scored in a 68-7 homecoming win over West Caldwell.
The 68 points –– all coming with more than 20 minutes left to play –– were the most scored since East Lincoln beat Hibriten 68-26 in 1991. They also came after its school record 19-game win streak was reduced to 16 games when the Mustangs forfeited their first three wins this season due to their use of an academically ineligible player.
Although Friday’s victory came against a one-win team, second-ranked East Lincoln didn’t look like a team with an overall record of 5-4.
It did look like a team that is 5-0 in the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference and tied for first.
“We played well,” East Lincoln coach Mike Byus said. “They’ve executed well the last two weeks in a row.
“You hope you’re getting better each week, and that’s all you work on. We’re definitely attempting, just like everybody else, to get better each week.”
Last week’s blowout came seven days after a 48-7 blowout win at Newton-Conover.
Since a 14-10 nail-biter win against Bunker Hill on Oct. 11, a game that Byus called “awful,” the Mustangs have been on a roll.
Surratt completed 13 of 17 passes last week and hit four different receivers for TDs in the sophomore’s best passing game of his young career.
Damisho Finandis scored on a 40-yard pass, Billy Misenheimer on a 78-yard pass, Damarius Valentine on a 71-yard pass and Sage Surratt, Chazz Surratt’s younger brother, caught two TD passes of 23 and 17 yards.
Chazz Surratt’s previous career highs were 243 yards passing and four TDs, both against North Lincoln on Sept. 6 –– the last of the three forfeits.
“He was in a rhythm,” Byus said.
Justin Rhodes returned an interception 35 yards for a score, Valentine added a 7-yard run, Finandis scored on an 3-yard run and Surratt added a 74-yard TD run for the Mustangs.
East Lincoln finished with 561 yards of total offense –– 436 by Surratt –– and its league-best defense held the Warriors (1-8, 0-5) to 140.
West Caldwell’s Herman Tate scored on a 9-yard run with 1:15 left to avoid the shutout.
The win set up a battle for first place next between East Lincoln and unbeaten Maiden (9-0, 5-0), which beat West Lincoln 17-3 on Friday.
The Mustangs have won 16 straight league games dating back to 2011.
“We’re going to have to go play a four-quarter game come Friday,” Byus said. “We’re going to have to be ready.”