By Cliff Mehrtens

DENVER – The best football player on East Lincoln High’s field just happened to be the youngest.

Mustangs freshman Chaz Surratt scored four touchdowns – in three different fashions – to spark a 31-14 victory against Madison in the N.C. 2A semifinal Friday night. East Lincoln (15-0) will play Tarboro (14-0) in the state championship at 11 a.m. Dec. 1 at Wake Forest.

East Lincoln fell behind 7-0, then reeled off the next 31 points. Surratt was in the middle of nearly all of them.

Surratt caught a short pass from quarterback Garrett Young late in the first quarter and turned it into a 43-yard touchdown that tied the game at 7. On the next possession, the Mustangs drove 73 yards and scored on Young’s 14-yard pass to Surratt.

They bumped the lead to 17-7 on Cory Petersen’s 32-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the first half.

Surratt intercepted a pass (tipped by linebacker Scott McMichael) early in the third quarter and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-7. He then ran 37 yards for his fourth score to make it 31-7.

“It was exciting,” Surratt said. “When I fumbled (in the third quarter) my teammates and coaches picked me up. It wasn’t just me….I can’t really take it all in right now. It’s surreal.”

East Lincoln’s defense was solid throughout. A bad punt snap set up Madison’s first scoring drive (28 yards). The Mustangs, led by middle linebacker McMichael, handed out several punishing hits the rest of the game.