WALNUT COVE — Coach David Diamont reached a milestone last month, earning his 300th career win as South Stokes beat South Davidson 21-6 in a non-conference game.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Diamont with a grin on his face. “When you have been coaching as long as I have, the first thing that you have to recognize is your support system. My wife has allowed me to do what I have always wanted to do. And that meant at times that she didn’t pursue her career and she basically raised our children.
“Secondly, both of my brothers, Donnie and Ronnie have coached beside me with the exception of these last two years. They did the little league and middle school programs and helped build the foundation for us at East Surry. Then having two boys that participated and had some reasonable amount of success, it was kind alike of a family affair. I’ve been really lucky with great assistance coaches and a lot of young man who just bought in and decided that were going to do all they could to be successful.”
Diamont retired from East Surry in 2018 with 291 career wins. Since returning to the gridiron, Diamont is 9-5 and earned a first round home state playoff game last season. The Sauras’ program has had five different head coaches over the last decade with only two winning season, excluding last year’s 7-5 team in Diamont’s first season.
The ball bounced in the Sauras’ direction early in the game. After the Wildcats received the opening kickoff, running back Corbin Payne fumbled on the first snap from the line of scrimmage with linebacker Johnny Dotson getting the takeaway. South Stokes used that miscue and scored in two plays from the 10 yard line. Jesse Carrick blasted through from the left side on a 4-yard run to paydirt. Connor Barron connected on his first of three extra point attempts in the game to put his team up 7-0 with 11:21 left in the first quarter.
South looked to score again as the opening period came to a close, but the possession ended on South Davidson’s 13-yard line after they were unable to convert because of a 15-yard penalty that pushed the Sauras out of the red zone.
The home teams’ defense was stingy and didn’t allow positive yardage on the Wildcats next drive. Having to punt from the 14-yard line, South Davidson’s kicker shanked the punt giving South Stokes great field position at the 24-yard line. The Sauras scored on the third play when quarterback Tyler Patterson connected with Matthew Waters on a 24-yard reception. Baron split the upright for the 14-0 advantage with 11:30 left in the quarter.
After another three and out by South Davidson, the Sauras took over on the 32 yard line. Carrick carried the ball seven times for 42-yards over the next 12 plays and set up a first and goal at the one yard line. Patterson used a quarterback sneak to put his team up 21-0 at the break.
South Davidson took advantage of a Saura fumble in the opening minutes of the third quarter giving the Wildcats a first and 10 on the 16-yard line. Payne scored on a 17-yard run preventing a shutout by the South Stokes’ defense.
Over the next quarter and a half South Stokes had four possessions with three ending in punts and the other with Patterson taking a knee on the Wildcats 9-yard line as the clock expired.
“It was a very physical football game,” said Diamont. “I think we are very thin in numbers and that showed tonight. When we had injuries or when people got tired, we had problems.
“I thought we played well defensively and on the offensive side we didn’t complete passes we should have completed. I thought Jesse Carrick and Jordan Mitchell ran the ball hard and were pretty impressive. I’m just glad the kids got the win.”
South Stokes tallied 278 yards of offense with 254 coming on the ground. Carrick had a career night with 134-yards rushing on 26 carries and a touchdown. Fullback Jordan Mitchell carried the ball 14 times for a hard-fought 100-yards rushing up the middle averaging.
The Sauras’ defense allowed 138 yards of offense from the Wildcats. Aaron Justice led South Stokes’ defense with 10 tackles. Dotson added nine tackles and two fumble recoveries, Jordan Mitchell seven tackles, and Carrick and Waters six tackles each.
South Stokes improved its record to 2-0, while South Davidson dropped to 0-2.
The Sauras will travel to No. 9 Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy (2-0) on Thursday and compete against its Northwest 1A Conference opponent at 7 p.m. The game will be played at Atkins High School.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.