Reidsville had no answer for the pitch-and-catch show put on by a pair of future Atlantic Coast Conference players Friday night at Community Stadium and the Rams saw a bunch of impressive steaks come to an end.
East Surry, state 1-AA runner-up last season, outscored Reidsville, reigning state 2-A champs, 55-49 in a offensive explosion before a huge crowd on a steamy hot night.
Jefferson Boaz, East Surry’s Carolina bound 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior, completed 25 of 35 passes for 474 yards and five touchdowns. Eleven of those connections went to Stephen Gosnell, a 6-foot-2, 198-pound senior who is headed to N.C. State. Gosnell reached the end zone on four of the receptions and had 262 yards receiving to go with 103 yards and another TD rushing.
Meanwhile, Reidsville wasn’t too far back on the stat chart as junior quarterback Kyle Pinnix completed 21 of 36 passes for 330 yards and six touchdowns.
Auldon Edwards had four catches for 110 yards and 2 TDs, Colby Johnson grabbed four passes for 94 yards and also scored a pair of TDs. The other Pinnix TD tosses went to Lionel Long, Demontez Canada and Breon Pass.
The Rams also had success on the ground and Long rushed for 156 yards on 21 carries.
Total offense for the game: East Surry 594 yards and Reidsville 593.
“We’ve got a lot of good players,” said East Surry coach Trent Lowman. “In big games like this, there’s an old saying that big time players have to make big-time plays and tonight they did. Tonight, they showed why they earned those scholarships.
“It’s not often that you get that many good players on one team and the thing about it is that we’ve got two or three other ones that you don’t hear about. We’re just blessed with a lot of talent right now.”
The loss snapped Reidsville’s 21-game winning string and ended the Rams’ regular season winning streak at 43. Their last regular season loss came to Northwest Guilford in 2015.
East Surry moved to 6-0 and has the makings of a team that can make another strong push for a state championship.
“Our guys have confidence now that if we get back to the state championship, we know what it’s going to take to beat a state championship caliber team.”
Lowman had high praise for Reidsville’s offense as well.
“I think they’re going to be state champions again. Those were two of the better teams in the area on the field tonight. There was a lot of talent out here tonight.”
Reidsville coach Jimmy Teague, who will coach Boaz in the Shrine Bowl game in December, was high on praise for the two East Surry stars.
“They’re good. We knew they were,” Teague said. “We didn’t take the quarterback for the Shrine Bowl for no reason. Carolina is recruiting him as an H-back, but I think they might want to rethink that. He’s strong and makes good decisions.”
As for Gosnell: “We had trouble guarding him.”
Despite all the East Surry offensive firepower that the Rams never really got a handle on, it was two Reidsville offensive mistakes that proved decisive.
After going down 14-0 in the first two minutes of the game on a pair of Boaz-to-Gosnell strikes, the Rams battled back to tie it at 21 and were on the verge of taking the lead into halftime.
They drove to the Cardinal 30-yard line looking to take their first lead of the game. But a first-down pass by Pinnix was intercepted by Tye Needham in the end zone.
Boaz and company quickly turned that scenario around with a precision drive. He connected on five straight passes — four of them resulting in first downs — and the Cardinals used only two minutes to drive 80 yards. Boaz stretched over from the one to give the Cardinals a 28-21 lead with 28 seconds left in the half.
The Rams wasted little time getting even after taking the second half kickoff, driving 65 yards in six plays. A halfback pass from Breon Pass to Johnson covered the final 36 yards and after the kick by sophomore Anthony Franson, it was tied at 28 only two minutes into the second half.
But back and forth it went and the Cardinals had an even quicker answer. Again it was the Boaz-to-Gosnell connection, this time a 71-yarder.
The try for the extra point was botched on a bobbled snap, giving the Rams a slight opening.
Reidsville needed just four plays to take the lead, cashing in on a Pinnix pass to Johnson for 32 yards. Franson, 7-for-7 on the night, kicked the point to make it 35-34 with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
After forcing a punt on East Surry’s next possession, the Rams drove 95 yards in eight plays to grab a 42-34 lead. Pinnix hit Canada with a strike over the middle from 34 yards out for the TD with 1:09 left in the third.
East had another quick answer, but still trailed 42-41 when the second huge turnover of the game turned the game into the Cardinals’ favor. On the first play of the following drive, the Rams fumbled the ball away. Boaz-to-Gosnell cashed in from the 25 two plays later to make it 48-42.
Further proof that it was East Surry’s night came moments later when the Cardinals fumbled a punt only to see the ball roll harmlessly out of bounds.
Reidsville’s defense held, but the Rams’ next chance was hurt by a pair of penalties and they were forced to punt on fourth-and-20.
East put the game away on a fourth-down 40-yard pass, this time Boaz found Landon Stevens to make it 55-42 with 55 seconds left.
Reidsville scored a final TD with just 21 seconds left when Pinnix hit Edwards in the end zone from 13 yards.
“Those two turnovers killed us — the interception right before half and the fumble,” Teague said. “We had two opportunities to put them away and turned it over both times.”
The Rams are now tasked with putting this one behind them, pretty much the way they did a year ago when Morehead nearly stunned them at home.
“It’s a learning thing,” Teague said. “Like I told them last year after the Morehead game. We were lucky to find a way to win that one. This one we didn’t find a way, so we’ll see how we’ll react.
“We’ve got to worry about us right now and get better and have better focus during the week. We didn’t have a good focus week (in practice).”
For a RHS defense that had allowed only 22 points in the first five games, it’s a huge reality check. The next test will come from Mount Airy, like East Surry a member of the Northwest 1-A Conference. Reidsville and Mount Airy used to be huge rivals, but haven’t met since 1970.
The Granite Bears, who had an open date Friday, are 4-1 and on a four-game winning streak. They won their first 12 games a year ago, including a 31-28 win over East Surry, before being stopped in the second round of the playoffs by East Surry, 40-0.