Bears get ground game rolling in 43-7 win over Eagles
by Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
DOBSON — Mount Airy erupted for 22 straight points in the second quarter to blow open a tie game to defeat Surry Central Friday night.
From 7-7, the Bears took a 29-7 halftime lead and pulled away for a 43-7 nonconference win.
Bears Coach Kelly Holder remains perfect against his former school with 15 straight wins.
The Bears (3-2) continue to right the ship after losing the first two games of the season. Holder said earlier in the week that he would like to see his offense get 200 yards on the ground.
Unofficially, the Bears posted 233 yards on the ground, led by Shay Wilson, making his first appearance since a knee injury last year.
Holder said on Wednesday that there was one change to his injury report, but wouldn’t give any details, saying that he didn’t want to tip his hand.
Wilson had 11 carries in the second half for 97 yards after Devontae Dobson posted 76 yards on 16 carries in the first half. With fullback Andrew Jones posting 46 yards on five carries, the offense looked the best it has this season.
The Golden Eagles (2-3) had trouble moving the ball in the first half and finished with about 170 yards of offense on the night. The ground attack averaged about 3.2 yards per carry.
“The game started pretty good,” said Central Coach Monty Southern. Even though the Bears scored first, Southern liked the way his players were attacking on defense and hitting the Bear blockers.
He figured that with a couple of coaching tweaks, the defense would be okay.
When the Eagles scored to tie the game at 7-7, he felt his team had a chance to break Holder’s long winning streak.
Mount Airy had the ball first and used a good return and three running plays to pick up a first down at the Eagles’ 45-yard line. Then a wide receiver screen pass to Caleb Horton moved the ball to the 11-yard line.
From there, Dobson ran three times to score the touchdown. That made it 7-0 with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
Central’s Reid Stanley took a long kickoff all the way down to the Bears’ 36-yard line.
After a 5-yard penalty moved Central to the 31-yard line, Alex Martin hit Kenyon Martin with a short pass on the right side. Martin cut diagonally from the 25 across the field and into the left corner for a score to make it 7-7 just 25 seconds after Mount Airy’s score.
The defenses would hold as both teams were forced to punt twice.
On Central’s second punt, however, the punter was standing inside his own red zone and only reached the Eagles’ 40-yard line.
With a short field, Holder used a play-action pass to Jones for a good pickup, then Jones ran straight ahead for a first down. From the 24-yard line, Dobson went left and made a good cut at the 8-yard line to get past the last defender for a touchdown. That made it 14-7 with 9:52 left in the first half.
Central started its next drive at the 19-yard line and tried a long pass play to Kenyon Martin.
Horton made the interception and returned the ball to the Central 14-yard line.
Dobson needed just two runs to score another touchdown. With a blocked kick, the score was 20-7 with 8:52 left in the second.
The Eagles again started from their 19-yard line. A low snap skidded along the wet grass past quarterback Kirk Needham. The player chased down the ball and fell on it.
In the NFL, the play is still live until the player is touched down by a defender, but in high school, the play is over when the man has the ball on the ground.
The officials didn’t blow the play dead, so defensive lineman Isaiah King hit Needham and forced a fumble. Isiah Simmons picked the ball up and trotted the few yards into the end zone for a 27-7 lead.
The home crowd was upset that a late hit wasn’t called on the Bears, and the fans were more upset on the next play.
Kenyon Martin took the kickoff all the way down inside the Bears’ 30, but a holding call brought the ball all the way back to the 6-yard line.
The Eagles couldn’t move the ball and needed to punt. The hike sailed over the punter’s head and out the end zone for a safety that made it 29-7.
The Bears had the ball again, but linebacker Zack Martin stopped the drive with an interception, and neither team scored before halftime.
Southern came out determined to establish a ground game in the third quarter.
Raymond Salazar had his best carries of the game as the Eagles marched all the way to the Bears’ 31-yard line. On third down, Horton made his second interception of the game inside the red zone.
Wilson had played a couple of snaps in the first half. Seeing that the player was doing well, Coach Holder decided to give him some work in the second half.
Wilson broke off a 16-yard run, then a three-yard run with a personal foul that moved the Bears to midfield.
Wilson gained 15 yard, then Jones broke free up the middle for a 35-yard touchdown with 6:38 left for a 36-7 lead.
After a three-and-out, the Bears got the ball back near midfield. Wilson again was the workhorse and capped the drive with a 20-yard TD.
Coach Holder had been worried about his running game, but getting Wilson back seemed to give them a shot in the arm, said Southern.
“Mount Airy played great,” the coach said. “They hurt us a lot of ways: big plays and sustained drives. That’s not something that offenses have been able to do to us.”
“Kelly does a heck of a job, and they have a good program,” Southern added.
Central hosts North Stokes next week, while the Bears host West Stokes. That will be the last nonconference game, then both schools will have a bye week Oct. 4.
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