WINSTON-SALEM — Coach Kelly Holder tied the Mount Airy record for wins in a 52-18 blowout of Atkins.
Holder earned two milestones with one win, getting his 200th career victory and 177th as a Granite Bear. That ties Jerry Hollingsworth for the most ever.
This very well could have been a three-way milestone, as it looked like the Bears might get their 700th all-time win on this night.
However, historian Doug McDaniel uncovered two more wins by scouring newspaper microfilm archives. Much of the Bears’ history was destroyed by a fire in the 1970s, but McDaniel has been instrumental in helping the school chase down achievements. Mount Airy now stands at 702 wins, third-most in state history.
For Holder, this makes his 17th-straight winning season, another school record. He already holds the school record for playoff wins (23) in 18 playoff appearances. He holds another school record with the highest winning percentage at 75.2 percent.
As for this game, it looked like the Bears would run away with this one, scoring 24 points in the first quarter.
However, there would be no running clock in the second half, as the Camels found some success with the passing attack to be competitive the rest of the way.
On the first drive, quarterback Jackson Smith ran for a first down, then running back Malik Frost broke free for a 52-yard touchdown run. Robert Brown’s extra point went so far through the uprights that the ball was lost in the woods beyond the fence for a 7-0 lead after just 56 seconds of play.
The brisk wind also aided Brown’s kickoffs, as all three he made in the quarter went into the end zone.
On Atkins’ first drive, Grayson Corbin caught a ball at the 35-yard line and raced in for a pick six to make it 14-0 at the 10:40 mark.
On the next drive, a personal foul moved Atkins back to its 10-yard line. A weak punt into the wind barely made it back to the original line of scrimmage at the 21.
Mount Airy had a false start back to the 26, then Smith hit Ian Holder for a 26-yard touchdown catch to make it 21-0 with 7:23 left in the first.
Atkins completed a pass out to the 43-yard line before stalling. The punt snap was dropped, and the punter fell on the ball at his own 21.
Frost picked up 15 yards to the 6. A loss of three on a swing pass, then a fumbled snap had Mount Airy backed up to the 12. From there, Brown kicked a 29-yard field goal to put the Bears up 24-0 with 1:34 left.
Atkins got the crowd roaring when Maiz Lawson broke into the open and looked like he would score a long touchdown. However, state track medalist Grayson Corbin chased him down from behind at the Bears’ 42 after a 38-yard pickup.
On the next snap, Adrian Pearson hauled in a pass from quarterback Leshod Johnson for a 42-yard touchdown. The Bears blocked the extra point to make it a 24-6 game with 1:05 left in the first.
There was nearly another score before the clock could run out on the quarter.
Holder raced 77 yards for a touchdown, but a holding call brought it back to the 18-yard line. The Bears would be forced to punt for the first time — facing the wind in the second quarter. Brown still got the ball out to Atkins’ 44-yard line.
Atkins picked up a first down on the ground. Then a chop block penalty backed the Camels up 15 yards.
Johnson lofted a ball up the right side that the wind helped carry past Frost for a 32-yard completion to the 29-yard line.
On third down, Johnson completed a pass to the 4. After a run lost two yards, Johnson hit Pearson in the right corner of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. The extra point snap was fumbled, and it was 24-12 with 6:17 left in the half.
The wind-aided kickoff reached the 3, where Holder retrieved the ball and reached the 24. Then, lining up with Holder in the wildcat, the receiver took the direct snap (like he has done at times as the second quarterback) and raced up the middle and out to the left side for a 76-yard touchdown run. That made it 31-12 with 5:47 left.
Atkins picked up two first downs through the air before Corbin made his second interception of the game at his 35-yard line.
Smith hit Holder for a 25-yard gain. Then on third down, Smith heaved a ball high down the right side.
The wind caught the ball, but Corbin stopped and came back to the short throw for a 24-yard catch to the 17.
From there, Smith passed 17 yards to the end zone for Holder to make it 38-12 at the half.
Brown started the third quarter with his fourth touchback kick.
Atkins picked up three first downs before a sack and a holding call made it third-and-28.
After a sideways punt picked up only three yards to the Atkins 43-yard line, Smith hit Frost in stride in the right flat. He took it all the way for a touchdown, and the lead was up to 45-12 with 6:09 left in the third.
From the 15-yard line, Atkins put together its most impressive drive, moving the ball on the ground and with short passes. Lawson got some appreciative chatter from the Mount Airy bench with a one-handed catch near the Bears’ sideline.
With first down at the Bears’ 20, Johnson bobbled the shotgun snap, and Greyson Tucker fell on the ball at the 21.
Now into the fourth quarter, the Bears brought in some reserves to finish the game.
Freshman Jonathan Smith picked up some good yardage as the team moved to the 25 before stalling. Trying a 42-yard field goal into the wind, Brown hit the ball too low and didn’t clear the bar.
With the ball at his own 35, Johnson threw a deep ball up the left side that Pearson caught for a 65-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked again to make it 45-18.
Frost caught the ensuing kickoff at his 12 and went 88 yards for a touchdown to make it 52-18 with 4:12 left.
Atkins’ next drive would end with a turnover on downs, and the Bears ran out the clock.
Mount Airy hosts Walkertown (5-4, 4-0 Northwest) next Friday night with undisputed possession of first place in the conference on the line.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.