By MIKE POWELL
Special to the LTN
VALE –– It was a typical stat line for East Lincoln quarterback Chazz Surratt Friday night: Four touchdowns scored, 111 yards rushing, 11-for-14 passing for another 117.
Also throw in perhaps the best all-around game of senior Billy Misenheimer’s career, and it added to a 42-15 victory as the Mustangs spoiled senior night at West Lincoln’s Douglas C. Leonhardt Memorial Stadium.
The state’s fourth-ranked 2A team completed a 7-0 run through the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference –– its second straight perfect run through league play –– and earned a home state playoff game through at least the first two rounds.
Misenheimer, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound linebacker/running back/specialist, rushed for one touchdown, returned a punt for another and keyed East Lincoln’s defensive resurgence that held the Rebels scoreless in the second half.
“(Misenheimer) played the best game I have ever seen him play,” East Lincoln coach Mike Byus said. “When he gets a chance, he makes plays. I bet he had five tackles for a loss.”
After West Lincoln “ran the ball down our throats” in the first half, Byus said the halftime adjustment was to set Misenheimer on the edge of the line of scrimmage and key on Rebels quarterback Miguel Corella.
“We were not setting the edge firm enough, but once we put him there, you saw what happened,” said Byus.
For the Rebels, who will have another chance to post the school’s first playoff win in history on Friday, the turning point was a 45-yard punt return by Misenheimer early in the third period.
“We had a breakdown on special teams, and that took a lot of the air out of us,” West Lincoln coach Tom Sain said. “I was real proud of how we played in the first half, but East made some adjustments. They are a really good team. They will go far in the playoffs.”
The momentum shift actually came on the first series of the second half. Leading 21-15 at the break, the Mustangs (7-4, 7-0) went 68 yards behind the throwing and running of Surratt. After hooking up with younger brother Sage for a h completion, Surratt ran 16 yards through the middle for a touchdown.
Just as the East Lincoln offense looked sharp on the previous series, its defense followed suit by forcing the Rebels (7-4, 3-4) into a three-and-out.
Misenheimer scooped up the line-drive, end-over-end punt near the right sideline and ran untouched to the end zone. In a span of a minute and a half, the Mustangs turned a tight game at 21-15 into a 35-15 runaway.
West Lincoln’s struggles on special teams started early. A bad snap from center cost the Rebels on the opening series. Although they recovered the ball for a 15-yard loss, they were forced to punt from their own 5.
Misenheimer returned the punt 30 yards to the West Lincoln 5, and Surratt cashed in with a 6-yard TD run less than three minutes into the game.
On the next series, West Lincoln answered with an 80-yard scoring drive capped by Taylor Long’s 4-yard run.
After an exchange of touchdowns, Misenheimer ran 1 yard to give the Mustangs a 21-12 lead at the 5:16 mark of the second quarter.
The Rebels then answered with a methodical drive that ate up the rest of the half. After calling two timeouts to conserve the clock, Ivan Cavillo kicked a 25-yard field goal with 0:00 showing to make it 21-15.
West Lincoln’s career rushing leader Daniel Davila rushed for 112 yards on 28 carries in his final home game.