MOUNT AIRY — Elkin couldn’t overcome the fired up Granite Bears Friday night, losing 62-7.
A perennially good Mount Airy team would be enough of a challenge by itself, but the Buckin’ Elks also had to face an emotionally charged home crowd saying goodbye to a longtime coach.
Over the summer, Donald Price, athletic director and offensive line coach, died from cancer. Elkin has the misfortune of being the first opponent at Wallace Shelton Stadium this season.
Not only did the high school honor Price and his legacy, but the Mount Airy Youth Foundation also honored several spring athletes who earned state championships in the spring. Those included the boys golf team, the boys track and field team, the boys 4×400 relay team, the girls 4×800 relay team, and shot put and discus thrower Gabriel King.
Once the game was finaly underway, the Bears came out pumped up. By the end of the first quarter, the Bears led 29-0, and Elkin had yet to cross midfield. Mount Airy pushed the lead to 48-0 by halftime, and the second half featured a running clock throughout, greatly speeding up the game.
Elkin had one good drive in the first half end in an interception at the goal line, then the Elks put together a good drive in the third quarter and scored their lone touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Gabriel King, fresh off receiving three state rings for track, led the Bear defense, including two stuff tackles behind the line of scrimmage that halted momentum.
On the first drive, Elkin quarterback Beau Burgess found receiver Jaylen Mayes for a quick pass and a first down.
However, King next made a tackle in the backfield, and the Bears forced a punt.
Mount Airy’s Sean Evans blocked the punt, which Clayton Cogdill recovered at the Elks’ 23-yard line.
On the first snap, quarterback Ian Holder lofted a high pass toward the left side of the end zone. Sophomore Donovan Greene, at 6-foot-1, beat a smaller defender and came down with the ball at the goal line and stretched into the end zone for a 23-yard score. The Bears converted a two-point try for an 8-0 lead with 9:21 left in the first.
A booming kickoff drove Elkin backward, and the Elks started at their 17-yard line.
Just like the first drive, Burgess hit Mayes for a first down, but King answered with a stuff tackle for a three-yard loss.
This time on the punt, Greene brought the ball back to the Elkin 41-yard line.
Malik Frost picked up 11 yards for a first down at the 30-yard line.
Holder rushed for a 30-yard score on a keeper, but a holding call brought the ball back. That didn’t matter as Frost then went 40 yards for a touchdown. With the kick, it was 15-0 with 5:28 left in the first.
The Elks returned a squib kickoff out to the 41-yard line, but an unnecessary roughness call on Elkin moved the ball back to the 20. Three runs netted zero yards, and the Bears recovered a short punt at the Elkin 41-yard line. This marked the third straight drive that Mount Airy would begin in enemy territory.
Holder hit Greene for a 27-yard pass to the 14-yard line. Holder then rushed to the 6-yard line before Frost scored his second TD.
With a kick, it was 22-0 with 2:27 left in the quarter.
A second straight three-and-out series by Elkin resulted in a punt that bounced out to Mount Airy’s 45-yard line, the Bears’ first time on their own side of the field.
That didn’t last long, as they scored on a 55-yard TD pass. Tanner Jackson lined up in the slot on the right side, ran a seam route, caught a ball in stride from Holder and was gone.
The score was 29-0 with 1:12 left in the first.
The next kickoff was deep and to the right. Brandon Laredo went back to retrieve the ball, nearly went into his own end zone, then only made it back to his 10-yard line. A third straight three-and-out gave the ball back to the Bears at the 40-yard line.
Holder and Frost kept the ball on the ground until Holder scored an 8-yard TD run with 9:44 in the second. Kicker Robert Brown pulled the PAT left for a 35-0 score.
The next kickoff went over the return team’s heads, then died at the 2-yard line. Mayes had to pick up the ball with the gunners charging down. He made players miss, cut left and got out to the 20-yard line, then cut back all the way to the right and reached the 41-yard line. It was the most exciting play of the night for Elkin.
The Bears nearly had a fourth three-and-out, but on the punt, the Bears ran into the kicker for a first down. Then a facemask call at the end of a run gave Elkin another first down at Mount Airy’s 21-yard line.
Frost, also playing on defense, made an interception near the goal line and was tackled at the 2-yard line.
Mount Airy used an end-around run to get Greene the ball again, and the sophomore sprinter turned the corner and raced up the left sideline for a 98-yard TD run that might be a school record, according to radio station WPAQ, which covers every Bear game.
Brown missed a second PAT, but the Bears led 41-0 with 5:56 left in the half.
The Bears halted the Elks and got the ball back once more with less than four minutes in the half. Freshman Johnathon Smith broke free for a 45-yard TD run to make it 48-0 with 2:57 left.
After a fifth three-and-out, Elkin punted once more, and Mount Airy kneeled out the clock.
Greene opened the third quarter by returning the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point, the score was 55-0, and the clock ran nonstop for the entire second half.
On the next possession, with most of the Bear starters on the sideline, Elkin got its first sustained drive, marching down the field before junior Colt Henderson made a run around left end and was tackled at the 1-yard line. Burgess used a quarterback sneak to score from there. With a Cory Wiles kick, the Elks made it 55-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears had their longest drive before sophomore Cole Shelton scored from 14 yards out to finish the scoring.
Elkin finished with 24 carries for an estimated 36 yards. Burgess was 7-18 for 89 yards with one interception.
Mount Airy improves to 3-0 on the season, while Elkin drops to 0-3.
The Elks have another tough opponent this Friday as Surry Central comes to town.
Last season the Golden Eagles were 4-7, but so far this year the team is 3-0, including a blowout win over rival East Surry.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.