Lake Norman & Mooresville

Surratt, East Lincoln plan to stay atop the state’s 2AA schools

East Lincoln Mustangs quarterback Chazz Surratt (12) has a chance to set some state records as he marches through his senior season.
East Lincoln Mustangs quarterback Chazz Surratt (12) has a chance to set some state records as he marches through his senior season. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Chazz Surratt had one of the most productive seasons in state history last year.

The East Lincoln junior passed for 4,349 yards and 51 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,272 yards and 22 more scores. He also led the Mustangs football team to a 16-0 record and a 2AA state championship.

Surrat’s 5,621 total was the second-best single-season performance in state history; his 73 touchdowns were good enough for third-best.

“What we had was a pretty special season, and it would be hard to top what we accomplished together,” said Surratt, named the ncpreps.com, N.C. Player of the Year.

“But last year was last year. Our focus is to do whatever it takes to get back to the state championship and win it again.… My parents taught me never to be satisfied, and that there’s always something to work for. I don’t feel like I’ve come even close to hitting my peak yet.”

This year Surratt is ranked the No. 2 quarterback in the state behind Cuthbertson’s Austin Kendall, according to scout.com.

Surratt had a great summer. He got to the semifinals of the Elite 11 quarterback camp on the University of Southern California’s campus. His dream year continued when he committed to North Carolina in June, the team he grew up cheering for.

East Lincoln coach, Mike Byus, said that nothing Surratt accomplishes will surprise him.

“Chazz just has that desire to be the best in everything he does,” Byus said. “There’s not one ounce of me that doesn’t think he’s just as motivated as he’s ever been this year. It’s just in his DNA, that’s who he is.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound, East Lincoln senior is a combination of size, speed and strength. He benches 335, squats 400 and runs a 4.5, 40-yard dash.

Surratt doubles as an all-state basketball player. He averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the 2A state runner-up Mustang basketball team, which went 24-1. UNC-Chapel Hill basketball coach Roy Williams has offered him a walk-on spot with the Tar Heels.

Surratt can usually be found in the East Lincoln weight room or on the Mustangs football field, throwing passes with his receivers. However, he also boasts a 4.6 grade-point average.

“Chazz is the hardest worker on our team and having our kids see that example, only makes our whole team better,” said Byus. “He won’t accept anyone around him not giving their best effort on or off the field.”

Surratt will have all kinds of weapons returning on offense, starting with his younger brother, junior wideout Sage Surratt.

The younger Surratt (6-foot-3, 195) had a record-breaking season of his own with 87 receptions (a Lincoln County record) for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns.

The Mustang offense also will have running back Colten Banks (6-0, 185, 717 yards rushing, 461 receiving last season) and receivers in junior Cameron Dollar (6-1, 180, 31 catches last season) and senior Chris Cox (6-1, 180, also College of Charleston baseball commit).

While the Mustangs will need younger players to emerge for the 2015 team to get where they want to go, Surratt said he believes in the team.

“We expect to win every game, and I have a lot of confidence in all our guys,” Surratt said. “But I know I have to be a leader for this team, especially as a fourth-year guy. I’m the old man now and I have to make sure I show these guys the ropes and set the right tone from the start.”

Surratt has helped set a championship standard since he arrived on campus. He started at wide receiver as a freshman, accumulating more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for another 16-0, state champion, Mustang team. For the last two seasons, he’s been busy rewriting the East Lincoln, Lincoln and even state record books.

Surratt has a good chance to break two state records – including total yards in a career and touchdown responsibility – both held by former Independence quarterback, Chris Leak. Surratt has accumulated 11,593 yards of total offense in his career and is responsible for 161 touchdowns. Leak amassed 16,590 yards of total offense in his career (1999-2002) and accounted for 216 touchdowns.

“It’s pretty cool to be mentioned in the same sentence with Chris Leak, because he is someone I always grew up hearing about,” Surratt said. “I would love to break some state records, but winning a championship is more important to me, right now. I don’t want to walk off the field for the last time in an East Lincoln uniform with a loss. There’s only one way to do that.”

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: jedwardsjr23@gmail.com.

Lake Norman

The Lake Norman area has not always been known for championship-level football.

In the past five years, however, teams from East Lincoln to Davidson Day and SouthLake Christian have changed that.

East Lincoln is 41-5 in the last three years, having won two of the last three 2A state championships. With all-state quarterback, Chazz Surratt, back, the Mustangs have to feel good about a three-peat.

Davidson Day is 44-6 in its first four years as a program, winning three state titles (2011, 2012, 2013). The football team is looking to get back in championship form at the NCISAA’s Division I level.

Lake Norman and Mooresville also have flirted with state championship runs (both making it to 4A state semifinals), but will have to quickly reload after big losses on their respective offenses. Both the Blue Devils and Wildcats hope to get on a roll by winning the North Piedmont conference title.

Top teams

East Lincoln: The Mustangs were a 16-0 last season, winning their second 2A state title in three years.

Mooresville: The Blue Devils have won 21 games in the last two years. Their abrupt first-round exit from the 2014 playoffs will provide a lot of motivation from the start this season.

Davidson Day: The Patriots have had a lot of success in their first four seasons, with three state championships. This year they take on the challenge of trying to have the same success as they move up to NCISAA Division I.

Hough: The Huskies have proven they can win with 29 victories in the last three seasons, but still looking for a deep postseason run.

Community School of Davidson: The Spartans believe they have the experience and talent to compete for SPC 1A title in only their fourth year as a program.

Top players

Chazz Surratt, East Lincoln, Sr., QB (6-3, 210): All-state quarterback (North Carolina commit) accounted for 5,621 yards and 73 touchdowns a year ago, with his younger brother, all-state wide receiver Sage Surratt was a huge part of it with 87 catches (Lincoln County record) for 1,237 and 18 touchdowns.

Jamil Dukes, Mooresville, Sr., DL (6-3, 300): Reigning NPC Defensive Player of the Year is a dominating force on the defensive line with 63 tackles, nine sacks last season, while N.C. State commit Chris Ingram (6-0, 170) has a big impact from his cornerback spot.

Alex Gourley, South Iredell, Sr., C (6-0, 285): Four-year starter is one of the top offensive lineman in the state, already has multiple, Division I offers.

Cade Carney, Davidson Day, Sr., RB (5-11, 213): Patriots’ coach, Chad Grier, calls this Davie Co. transfer “the Tim Tebow of high school football,” as he has already rushed for nearly 4,000 yards in high school career.

Marquill Osborne, Hough, Sr., CB/WR/KR/PR (5-11, 190): Tennessee commit will be a game-changer in all three phases with his 4.2 (40-yard dash) speed.

Players on the rise

Joey Bernardini, Community School of Davidson, Sr., RB: All-SPC 1A running back arrived last season rushing for 2,134 yards and 29 touchdowns. Now, Bernardini looks to do it again as a marked man for a Spartan team looking to win its first conference title.

Jake Helms, Lake Norman, Sr. DT/DE/OL (6-2, 290): Wildcats lineman can dominate from anywhere on the defensive line, will also contribute on the offensive line.

Colten Banks, East Lincoln, Sr., RB (5-10, 180): Mustangs’ senior tailback is a major force on the ground (717 yards rushing and eight touchdowns) and in air (42 catches for 461 yards, four touchdowns last season).

Kendall Coles, North Mecklenburg, Sr., QB (5-11, 155): If the Vikings are going to make a move in the MECKA 4 conference, Coles will have to be a big reason.

Sam Hartman, Davidson Day, Soph., QB (6-0, 165): The next Davidson Day starting quarterback made a major jump this summer, is eager to lead the Patriots’ aerial attack, according to Coach Chad Grier.

Must-see games

Community School of Davidson at Davidson Day, Sept. 18: The battle for Davidson bragging rights should continue to develop as the programs grow.

East Lincoln at Lincolnton, Oct. 2: East Lincoln has won three straight in this rivalry, which will make the stakes even greater.

Lake Norman at South Iredell, Oct. 9: The Vikings are eager to get back in the NPC championship hunt. This game and their Oct. 16 match at Mooresville will be a critical part of their run.

Hough at Mallard Creek, Oct. 9: The Huskies have the painful memory of jumping out to a 30-point lead over Mallard Creek, before the Mavericks roared back to win 37-30. Hough has to feel like they have a score to settle.

Mooresville at Lake Norman, Oct. 30: Just seven total points have decided the last three meetings between the Blue Devils and Wildcats, and there’s no reason to think 2015 won’t be another nail-biter.

Jay Edwards

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