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November 2, 2013DENVER - Much has been said about how tough the Southern District 7 2A Conference is this year. Going into Friday night's action, two teams had risen above the pack with perfect 5-0 conference records. East Lincoln, though, showed themselves to be the dominant team in the conference and clinched at least a share of the title with a 42-0 thrashing of Maiden.
East Lincoln showed from their first drive that they would impose their will on a Maiden defense that had only given up three points the prior week. Sophomore quarterback Chazz Surratt finished the eighty yard drive with a one-yard keeper, his first of four rushing touchdowns on the night.
A tenacious Mustangs defense kept Maiden quarterback Jake McRee, who had been averaging 246 passing yards a game coming into the game, on the run for most of the night, limiting the senior to only 107 yards. Including a hard fought twenty-four rushing yards, the Blue Devils were only able to garner 131 yards of total offense for the night. East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus loved what he saw from his team. "I can't say enough about our defensive coaching staff. They always have our kids prepared to play when your defense is playing well, they give you opportunities to score," Byus commented after the game.
The second quarter was when the Mustangs put the pedal to the floorboard and never looked back. Surratt scored on a seven yard run early in the quarter. Just when it looked like Maiden might be able to sustain a drive to get on the board, East Lincoln's Damarius Valentine picked off a pass and raced seventy-two yards for the pick-6. Surratt then showed off his arm when he found Chris Tomberlin in the flat and the junior made defenders miss on his way to a fifty-nine yard score, giving the Mustangs a 28-0 halftime lead.
The second half was much of the same for the Mustangs. "Coming out of the half, I urged our kids not be satisfied, to come out here and play this thing and finish it," Coach Byus said. Surratt added two scores in the quarter, both from inside of the ten yard line after successful drives. "He's a good kid. His play speaks for itself. What people need to understand is he's a 4.5 student. He's just an awesome kid," Mustang Coach Byus said of his quarterback.
With the win, East Lincoln clinched at least a share of the Southern District 7 2A Conference title and the conference's number one seed for the playoffs. The Mustangs can clinch the conference title outright with a win next week at county rival West Lincoln. Maiden will battle Lincolnton next week in another game with big conference and playoff seeding implications.
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