Field goal clinches win in Bears/Hounds rivalry
by Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
Rivals Mount Airy and North Surry battled to a 27-27 tie before the Granite Bears won on an overtime field goal.
The Bears came up just inches shy of a touchdown at the end of regulation, but got a 22-yard field goal from Mitchell Brown for the 30-27 win.
The Greyhounds’ Dakota Goss was a workhorse, piling up nearly 200 yards rushing and returning kickoffs. He also made an interception playing linebacker.
The Hounds had a chance to win the game in overtime. Not surprisingly, North looked to Goss when Hunter Snow dropped back to pass. However, the Bears’ Caleb Horton stepped in and made a game-clinching interception.
The annual rivalry game had Wallace Shelton Stadium packed with fans who witnessed two ties, three lead changes and three blocked kicks.
North Coach Danny Lyons said he was feeling rough immediately after the game because of the tough loss.
Half an hour after overtime, he reflected, “This was my proudest moment in 15 years as a player and coach. My guys couldn’t have played any harder. They could have played better — we turned the ball over too much — but it’s probably the best game I’ve ever been a part of.”
How good was it? The two teams combined for four touchdowns on just 19 plays in the first eight minutes.
On the third play from scrimmage, North’s Goss took a handoff left and sprinted 72 yards to the end zone. The extra point by Caleb Ramey was blocked for a 6-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game.
The Bears got the ball back. After a short run by Devontae Dobson, QB Logan Holder hooked up with Horton on a 22-yard completion.
On the next play, Holder lobbed a deep ball to Kordell France on a go route. France caught the ball, fought off a tackle by Colton Acord and sprinted to the end zone with a 50-yard score. With a Brown kick, the Bears led 7-6 with 10:33 left in the first.
North QB Hunter Snow lost a fumble at the 25-yard line, giving Mount Airy a very short field.
A face mask call helped to move the Bears inside the 10-yard line. From three yards out, Dobson scored to make it 14-6 with 7:17 left in the first.
On the next possession, Snow hooked up with Ryan March on a 65-yard pass play to the 4-yard line before France could bring him down. France, a standout sprinter on the track team, was the only player who could have caught March.
Two false starts pushed North back to the 14-yard line. Another fumbled snap backed North up two yards, but then Snow hit Alex Edwards for a 16-yard TD pass.
Goss scored on a two-point conversion to tie the game at 14 with 4:02 left in the quarter.
Three possessions later, the Hounds would get the ball on their own 30-yard line.
North Surry converted two fourth downs to move to the 24-yard line. From there, Goss scampered 24 yards for the go-ahead score. With a Ramey kick, North led 21-14 with 3:58 left in the half.
On Mount Airy’s next drive, Holder dropped back to pass and spotted a receiver on the right side.
As he started to throw, Ty Harold hit Holder in the chest and arm, causing the ball to float in the air.
Corbin Bullins made the interception and ran it down to the 13-yard line.
Goss dragged a couple of tacklers on one run, then broke loose for a 9-yard TD. For the second time, the Bears blocked the extra point, but North led 27-14 with 1:48 left.
The Bears charged back.
Starting on their own 14, Holder hit Chris McNeal for a good gain.
An intentional grounding call left Coach Kelly Holder upset and made it second and 25. However, a swing pass to Dobson turned into a huge gain to the Hounds’ 24.
A sack by Devin Burnett made it second and 21, but a swing pass to the other side of the field reached the 20. A 5-yard facemask call moved it to the 15.
An end-around run by Horton reached the 10, then Horton caught a fade pass in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown with 35.5 seconds left.
With the extra point, the score was 27-21.
“Goss is legit,” said Coach Holder. He praised defensive coordinator Darren Taylor for making adjustments at the half.
The basic scheme switched from a stack to a 4-4 alignment, he said. That helped slow down the Hounds.
North Surry still put together some good drives, but the Bears held each time and didn’t allow a point after the break.
To be a good team, the Bears have to be able to run the ball and stop the run, said Holder. The Bears put some bodies on Goss, but he still managed to fight forward for yardage.
Late in the third quarter, the Hounds put together a good drive, working their way down inside the Bears’ 30.
Unfortunately, Goss fumbled. Not only did the Bears recover, but an unsportsmanlike penalty added 15 yards to the recovery, shifting the field-position battle back to Mount Airy’s favor.
On the next play, Dobson made a good run and was taken down by a horse-collar tackle, another 15-yard penalty.
From there, the Bears pounded the ball on the ground before scoring from a yard out by Dobson.
North Surry was aggressive going after extra points all night. However, the enthusiasm made the team jump offsides three times. On this kick, North again was offsides, so Brown’s made kick didn’t count.
On the second try, Brown’s kick hit the upright and fell back to make it 27-all with 11:44 left.
North had two more drives stall out before punting back to Mount Airy with 1:55 left.
A flare pass to Dobson resulted in the third good pickup of the game on that play. The 43-yard gain got Mount Airy to the 20-yard line, in range of Brown’s leg.
Horton made a tiptoe catch on the sideline to reach the 10. The Bears ran the ball down to the goal line with Andrew Jones being marked inches short of a score.
Mount Airy tried a 17-yard field goal, but North Surry blocked it. The Bears fell on the ball and got another chance to try a kick. Backed up to a 24-yard try, Brown missed the kick to the left.
Lyons said he believed one of his players got a finger on the ball and changed the direction slightly.
“I thought we had that thing won a couple of times,” Holder said afterward. “I told our guys, ‘We do not want to go into overtime.’”
Lyons showed a gambler’s mentality, going for it repeatedly on fourth down, including converting a fake punt on fourth and 5.
Lyons said he went for the win in overtime, and if he did it all over again, he would do the same. The Hounds haven’t beaten the Bears in seven years, and he wanted to give his guys a chance.
“I want to make a point of saying how proud I am of our whole team,” he said. It was a much better effort than last week with East Surry, he said.
Mount Airy travels to Surry Central next week, while North Surry hosts North Wilkes.
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