Rather than savoring his 52-0 win on homecoming night, Holder was talking about how the Cardinals had a better team than their 5-5 record would show.
Two of East Surry’s five losses were in the final minutes of the game (North Surry and Bishop McGuinness). Another loss was to undefeated Starmount, which also beat the Bears.
And against West Stokes, the Cards held the Wildcats down for three of the four quarters, but the Wildcats exploded for 35 points in the second quarter. Even then, the Cards didn’t give up and made the game close in the second half.
The only black eye on the schedule is an 18-14 loss to Surry Central (3-7), and even that was a close game on the road. So, this squad could very easily be 7-3 or even 8-2 right now.
And 8-2 is right where the Bears find themselves after bouncing back from losing the first two games of the season. Mount Airy lost to Starmount and Thomasville, causing some to question what was wrong with the Bears. Eight straight wins have made believers of them all. Even more so when you consider that Starmount and Thomasville are undefeated and regarded among the best in the state.
A win on Friday would give Holder 120 in his 12 seasons on the sidelines. With only 40 losses, his 75 percent winning percentage ranks him second in school history, according to Doug McDaniel, unofficial team historian. Holder ranks third in school history for wins behind Jerry Hollingsworth (178 wins) and Wallace Shelton (166), after whom the stadium is named.
The game pits Holder against the man fourth on Mount Airy’s win list. Dave Diamont coached the Bears from 1991 to 1995 with a 39-22 record before moving to East Surry.
Over the past five years, Mount Airy holds a slight edge at 3-2. To put that in better perspective, over the past four seasons, the Bears have gone 52-4, been in two state title games and won the title in 2008, noted McDaniel. So winning two games shows what a tough squad East Surry fields.
For extra incentive, Mount Airy puts its 30-game conference win streak on the line. Mount Airy’s last conference loss was to Elkin Oct. 30, 2006; the streak began the next week with a 48-13 win against East Wilkes, which now plays in a different conference.