Mount Airy and Thomasville have played some classics in the last several years.
The two teams rich in football tradition will meet again Friday night when the Bulldogs make the trip to Shelton Stadium for the Granite Bears’ home opener.
It will be the sixth straight season Mount Airy and Thomasville played in a nonconference game. They will not play during the regular season next year with Winston-Salem Prep announcing it will join conference play in 2015.
Only one of the head-to-head contests the last five years has been decided by more than seven points — a 23-7 win by the Bears in 2011. Mount Airy is 3-2 against Thomasville since a fourth-round playoff loss to the Bulldogs in 2006. That Thomasville team was in the middle of a stretch when it won four state titles in five years.
Playing a rugged nonconference schedule has proven valuable over the years for the Bears, who have won conference titles in nine of the last 11 seasons. However, this is not the Thomasville team of the mid-2000s. The Bulldogs have gone 11-18 over the last two seasons and have a new head coach, Wes Mattera. The Bulldogs (0-1) were blown out by Class 4A North Davidson 38-0 last week.
Meanwhile the Bears (1-0) posted a 28-17 win against Starmount in Boonville last week.
• In Toast, North Surry will host Elkin in matchup of teams seeking their first victory of the season.
The Greyhounds (0-1) lost at Ashe County 50-42 in Week 1 despite rolling up more than 400 yards of offense and coming away with five interceptions. The Huskies relied on a spread offense and ran pass plays about 75 percent of the time, according to North Surry coach Danny Lyons.
Down by 24, the Greyhounds rallied to get within seven at one point.
“We would have had a lot more problems if we had gotten down by 24, and gone on to lose by 38. That would have bothered me,” Lyons said. “They showed no quit, and fought back. A play here or there, and we probably go to overtime. The way both offenses were playing, we probably still would be playing right now.”
Nolan Stanley was 14 of 28 passing for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Colton Acord and Tanner Hodgin each had more than 100 yards receiving and combined for three touchdowns. Dakota Goss rushed 24 times for 165 yards.
Elkin dropped its season opener 36-26 at Forbush. The Elks (0-1) were led by QB Josh Strickland, who threw for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target was Daniel Brinegar who caught eight passes for 235 yards and a score.
“Elkin essentially has played the same skill guys on varsity the last four years. We know them really well,” Lyons said. “They have a strong-armed, athletic quarterback. Brinegar is as dangerous a receiver as anybody Ashe has. (Kody) King, if he plays, he’s preseason all-state.
“They are as athletic as about any team we’ll play. Defensively they”ll get after it.”
Defensive back Corbin Bullins was injured on the fourth play of the game against Ashe. He will miss Friday’s game, but Lyons said he is expected to return next week.
• In Dobson, Surry Central looks to avoid an 0-2 start when it hosts East Wilkes.
The Eagles (0-1) struggled in a 29-3 season-opening loss at East Surry last week. Coach Monty Southern of Central said afterward he wanted to see improvement from the offensive line. When tailback Alex Martin had room to run, he had a few big plays against East Surry’s stout defense.
Central beat East Wilkes 28-21 last season and looks to win its fourth in a row in the series with the Cardinals. A week ago, East Wilkes (1-0) breezed to a 22-8 win at South Stokes. Levi Wray rushed for 155 yards on 25 carries and a score and quarterback Andrew Nance had a pair of touchdowns on the ground against the Sauras.
• In Boonville, East Surry will try to go 2-0 on the season and win its second straight against Starmount.
The Cardinals rushed for 218 yards with eight different players getting carries in a 26-point victory against Surry Central. Quarterback Tyler Smith touchdown passes to Jack Edwards and Gage Edwards. Coach David Diamont of East Surry said after Friday’s win he was pleased with the play of his offensive line.
“We had two scrimmages, and our offensive line was very young as far as experience,” Diamont said Friday. “They needed to have some success. They played together well and came off the ball better than they had in the past.”
Meanwhile, the defense which led the conference last year in points allowed, held the Eagles to just a field goal. After losing three in a row to the Rams, East won 27-6 in Pilot Mountain in 2013.
John Johnson had a kick return for a touchdown in the season opener for Starmount (0-1). Senior quarterback Zach Freed ran for the Rams’ other score last week in the loss to Mount Airy.