First Posted: 8/21/2009
It wasnt exactly pretty, but Mount Airy began its 2009 season with a bang Friday, defeating visiting Starmount 41-28.
The Granite Bears turned the ball over four times, an unusual occurrence in recent years, but managed more than 500 yards of total offense, including 375 yards on the ground.
Luke Wheeler and Andy Temoney teamed up to lead Mount Airy to the big non-conference win, with Wheeler providing the fireworks Granite Bears fans have grown accustomed to, scoring on a 70-yard touchdown run in an offense-filled second quarter.
Mount Airy coach Kelly Holder said he was happy with the win but made it clear there is room for marked improvement.
I think we are confident, but we really made a lot of mistakes, he said. Laid the ball on the ground, had four turnovers which surely didnt help our cause and is something were not used to.
There are a lot of things that we have to shore up if were going to be successful, but we beat a good team. They are going to be very good, so we do have that to be proud of, but our kids know that weve got to be more precise, especially on defense.
It looked like it would be business as usual for the Bears early on, with quarterback Ben Hinson finding Wheeler for a seven-yard touchdown strike to put his team up 15-0 in the first quarter, just three minutes after Demitius Rucker plunged in from the one to break the ice.
Starmount wouldnt go away quietly however, as running back and defensive leader Blaine Nicholson burst through the Mount Airy defense for a 28-yard touchdown run to put the Rams on the board, with the extra point failing.
Starmounts M.J. Bryant then scored on a 26-yard run to make the score 15-14 Granite Bears with 8:48 left in the first half.
The one-point margin wouldnt last long however, with Wheeler taking a Hinson pass 70 yards to the endzone on the Bears first play from scrimmage following the Starmount score.
Wheeler finished with 95 yards rushing on six carries for one touchdown and added 81 yards receiving on three grabs for one score. Temoney added on 135 yards on 18 carries for one touchdown.
After the Bears scored twice more in the second quarter, they seemed poised to take a commanding 35-14 lead into the locker room, but Starmount had other plans, with Bryant rumbling 44 yards into the endzone with no time left to cut into the Mount Airy lead and breathe life back into the Rams sideline.
After an offense happy first half, the second half saw only two scores, a 12-yard keeper from Ben Hinson and a three-yard dive from Starmounts Israel Murphy.
Starmounts starting quarterback, senior Jake Barr, failed to make an appearance in the second half, with an unknown injury keeping him on the Rams sideline.
The Bears wreaked havoc on his replacement, and used that defensive momentum to keep the Rams at bay and take home the 41-28 win.
Penalties, cramps and fumbles, all marks of the early season, plagued both teams throughout the game.
Afterwards, Holder made no excuses for the Bears turnovers.
I dont care who you are, you dont lay it on the ground, he said. You just cant do that. Weve got to make sure we take care of the football.
Wheeler, one of a handful of players returning from last seasons championship squad, said he and his teammates were happy to come out with a win against a solid Starmount team.
I still think we have a lot of things to work on, but its still nice to get a W, Wheeler said. Especially when we had a bunch of question marks, a bunch of JV players coming up who hadnt really played before, but I think a lot of people stepped up tonight, especially on offense.
It is a big win, Holder said. We surely let them stay in the game, but I hope thats just being young. If it is, those are things we can correct. Well watch tape and see and maybe we played better and maybe we played worst, but well find out all of that tomorrow and Sunday and figure out what weve got to do to get better and well do it.
Mount Airy 41,
Starmount 6 15 0 7 28
Mount Airy 15 20 6 0 41
MA Rucker 1 run (Wheeler run)
MA Wheeler 7 pass from Hinson (Hull kick)
S Nicholson 28 run (Kick failed)
S Bryant 26 run (Bryant pass from Barr)
MA Wheeler 70 run (Hull kick)
MA Temoney 3 run (Hull kick)
MA Smith 2 run (Kick failed)
S Bryant 44 run (Hemric kick)
MA Hinson 12 run (Kick failed)
S Murphy 3 run (Hemric kick)
Contact Thomas Smith at [email protected] or 719-1920.