The Mount Airy defense continues to shine as the Granite Bears stopped West Stokes 19-7 Friday night.
The Bears gave up 30 points in the first week to Starmount. Since then the team has won four straight games and has only given up 28 points combined, an average of seven points a contest.
Lineman Zaqwan Dobson got a safety in the first quarter, then Isaiah King clinched the victory by recovering a fumble with 1:21 to play.
The defense also had interceptions by Garrett VanHoy and Justin Simmons, but both were taken away by penalties.
The Bears improved to 4-1 while the defending 2A state champions fell to 1-4.
Mount Airy drew first blood, moving down the field and converting a 4-yard TD run thanks to Devontae Dobson. With a Mitchell Brown extra point, the Bears led 7-0 with 9:36 left in the first.
After stopping the Wildcats, Mount Airy got the ball back, but stalled out at the Cats’ 44-yard line.
Austin Taylor, back from a quadriceps injury, dropped a punt inside the 10 that rolled down to the 2-yard line.
On the first play, West Stokes handed off to Rashad Witherspoon in the end zone. Dobson knifed in and took the runner down two yards deep for a safety with 5:04 left in the first.
After the free kick, the Bears moved down the field and into the red zone before facing a fourth-and-2 at the 11-yard line.
From there, Brown kicked a 29-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the first quarter for a 12-0 lead.
After an exchange of punts, the Wildcats got a 29-yard pickup from Witherspoon to move into Bear territory. Two more runs earned a first down at the 26.
On a fourth-and-12 pass, the quarterback stepped over the line of scrimmage as he lofted a ball toward the end zone.
VanHoy intercepted the pass, but it was ruled an illegal pass and the Bears got the ball back on a turnover on downs.
After a lengthy halftime rest for West Stokes’ homecoming court, the Wildcats picked up their only touchdown of the game courtesy of a controversial penalty on the Bears.
West Stokes took the opening kickoff to the Bear 43-yard line.
QB Keyshawn Rawley again flicked a high throw downfield. Justin Simmons swooped under the ball and made a great one-handed interception while making contact with the receiver.
The referee threw a flag for pass interference while the Bears argued that Simmons had every right to make a play on the ball while it was in the air.
That gave the Cats a first down at the 28-yard line.
The Bears still could have gotten off the field without a score, but on a fourth-and-3 play, two Bears jumped offside on a hard snap count by Rawley for a first down.
Witherspoon appeared to score a 17-yard touchdown run, but a holding penalty at the 8 moved the ball back to the 18-yard line.
On the next play, Rawley threw a floater into the end zone that Austin Long pulled in over Devontae Dobson for a score.
That made the score 12-7 with 7:22 left in the third.
Neither team could score the rest of the quarter or most of the way through the fourth.
The Bears got a couple of key first-down pickups on the ground via Zaqwan Dobson. Then with the ball at the Cats’ 20-yard line, Coach Kelly Holder called a timeout with less than three minutes to play.
Coming out of the timeout, Taylor threw a 20-yard TD pass to Darius Gwyn with 2:48 left for a 19-7 lead.
Taylor finished with 81 yards rushing on 13 carries. He also was 4-12 passing for 55 yards.
Devontae Dobson had 12 carries for 39 yards, and the Bears finished with 229 yards of total offense.
Other than a couple of good gains, the Bears kept Witherspoon in check for 50 yards on 17 carries.
The Wildcats had just 144 yards of total offense.
One downside for the Bears were all the penalties called against them. Mount Airy was flagged a dozen times for more than 100 yards.
The Bears host Surry Central next Friday.