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home : sports : local sports January 29, 2022

11/27/2021 9:12:00 AM
Fourth Round Scores

Wayne Howard

East Surry did it again…claimed a one-point come-from-behind win in the NCHSAA 2A playoffs.  This time, it was the Maiden Blue Devils who appeared to have the game won only to see the Cardinals spoil the day. 

Folger Boaz, the East Surry quarterback, threw for 210 yards and ran for 105, but it wasn’t his prowess that ended the Blue Devils magical season.  Maiden had three passes intercepted and lost a fumble.  Two of those interceptions and the fumble were followed by East Surry scores.  The third interception ended any chance of a Maiden comeback after East Surry had retaken the lead with just over two minutes left in the game.  

Playing on their home field, the Cardinals took the opening kickoff and drove what seemed effortlessly for a score.  Just over three minutes into the game, they led 7-0 and the Blue Devils hadn’t yet had the ball.  When they got it, Maiden answered just over a minute later as Ethan Rhodes hit Alec Hall for a 51-yd TD pass.  Bryson Foard’s EP kick tied the score.

Boaz, who had passed for the first score, ran for the second and East Surry took a 14-7 lead.  Maiden didn’t score on their next possession.  East Surry drove to the Maiden 26 but turned the ball over on downs.  Ben Gibbs then ran for 15 yards followed by Chris Culliver for 16 three plays later.  Rhodes ended the drive on a one-yard run and then ran for a two-point conversion and a 15-14 lead the Blue Devils wouldn’t relinquish until the closing minutes of the game.

The Blue Devils defense then came to life with two sacks on Boaz and the Maiden offense also rallied.  A long pass to Culliver set up a three-yard TD run by Gibbs.  The EP kick try was blocked and Maiden led 21-14.  After they kicked off to East Surry, the defense had another sack of Boaz and the half ended with Maiden ahead by a TD.

The Blue Devils took the second half kickoff and scored again on a 60-yd drive.  The touchdown was set up by a 24-yard completion from Rhodes to Culliver, but Culliver suffered an injury to his wrist on the play and didn’t return.   Gibbs scored the TD on a one-yard run.  Carson Foard then kicked the EP to make it Maiden 28, East Surry 14.

East Surry made it to the Maiden 27 on their first possession of the second half, but the Maiden defense held and the Blue Devils got the ball back there. Gibbs ran for nine yards, putting him over the 100-yd mark for the night. 

East Surry kept swiping at the ball and finally succeeded in knocking it loose.  Luke Bowman of the Cardinals ran the recovered fumble 50 yards for a score and East Surry cut the lead to 28-21. 

The Blue Devils struck again as Ethan Rhodes hit Jacob Sigmon with a 34-yard TD pass with 9:40 remaining in the game. 

A long pass set up another touchdown run and this time, the home team went for two—and made it—to cut the lead to 35-29.  The Blue Devils then concentrated on the run.  They even converted a fourth-and-1 from their own 29. But eventually, the Blue Devils had to punt, and East Surry got the ball at the Maiden 49. 

With 2 minutes and 10 seconds left in the game, East Surry scored and with the EP kick led for the first time since early in the second quarter 36-35.

After they kicked off, the Cardinals intercepted a Maiden pass on the very next play; then made  first down and ran out the clock. 

The magical season ends with the Blue Devils posting a 13-1 record.  For seniors Ethan Rhodes, Korbyn Lawing, Aaron Lefevers, Isaiah Thomas, etc., this ends their high school football career.  Gibbs, Culliver, Hall, the Foards and others may be back next year. 

Other playoff  games Friday included a 31-14 win by the Shelby Golden Lions.  Reidsville tried an on-side kick to start the game and recovered the ball, but the Lions forced a three and out and Jack Berkowitz kicked a field goal on Shelby’s first possession.  A 62-yard TD pass by the Rams gave them a 7-3 lead.  Shelby scored midway through the second quarter to take a 10-7 lead and would never trail again. 

They opened the second half with a TD pass but missed the EP to make it 16-7.  A late third quarter TD gave them a 22-7 advantage.   A safety early in the final period made it 24-7.  The Lions added another TD before giving up a second one to Reidsville to make the final 31-14.  Shelby will host East Surry for the western region championship next Friday and a trip to the state championship game the following week.

When South Point visited Crest early in the regular season, the Chargers won 27-26.  That was about as close as a game could be…but Friday night’s was even closer. South Point took an early 14-0 lead; Crest cut that to 14-13, but then Charlie Birtwistle gave the Raiders a 17-13 halftime advantage.  Birtwistle hit another FG early in the third period to put South Point ahead 20-13.  Crest came back to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, then took the lead on a TD pass 27-20.  Elijah Phifer, no doubt the player of the game, ran for a TD with less than a minute left in regulation and Birtwistle’s kick sent the game to overtime. 

In the overtime, South Point went first and Phifer and Birtwistle gave them a 34-27 advantage.  Crest didn’t score on their first three OT plays, but on fourth down, a halfback pass appeared to have made a TD—but that got called back on a holding call.  The second fourth down try was an incomplete pass and South Point, the 16th seed in the western region of the 3A playoffs, advanced to play at 13-1 Greensboro Dudley next Friday.  Dudley handed the Statesville Greyhounds their first loss of the season 20-6 Friday night. 

Phifer completed 4 of his 6 passes for 86 yards (that’s actually a lot for the Raiders, who mostly run the ball).  He ran for 90 yards and two TDs including the winning score.  Tyson ‘AJ’ Riley scored the first two South Point TDs on runs of three and four yards. 

[We attempted to keep readers updated on the games in progress Friday night by posting updates on our Facebook page.  This reporter watched the Maiden game on NFHS Network and monitored two radio stations' play-by-play...and frankly, they were about as confused as was I.  NFHS doesn't always make use of the scoreboard showing time remaining, the score, etc. at the bottom of the screen--they didn't Friday night, and they don't usually have announcers doing a play-by-play.  So you have to try to keep up by watching the game from a distance with no scoreboard and quite often being unable to see the referee showing calls.  NFHS is far from good--but it's better (only slightly) than nothing.]

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