As sports fanatics, we love to see opposing forces face-off to settle the debate of which is superior. Barcelona and Real Madrid, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, North Carolina and Duke. All huge rivalries in which neither side will fold, truly exemplifying the paradox of the unstoppable force and the immovable object. The same could be said about Friday’s football game featuring two teams that are not only undefeated, but also, to put it lightly, don’t necessarily like one another: Mount Airy and North Surry.
Both teams bolster impressive résumés in their respective divisions, but are undoubtedly facing their biggest challenge this week. The Granite Bears have defeated opponents by an average of 24.25 points per game. The Greyhounds are not far behind, holding a 20-point average margin of victory. Mount Airy has scored an average of 38 points per game, with the Greyhounds trailing by less than a touchdown at 31.75 PPG. Neither team has permitted an opponent to score 20 points.
While the teams may have similar scoring numbers, how they achieve those touchdowns varies. North Surry relies heavily on its running game, led by Sammy McMillian and Ryan Smith. McMillian and Smith combine for 195.3 of the teams’ 234.5 rushing yards per game. Mount Airy’s ground game may not be as impressive as the Greyhounds’, but the Bears still average 196 rushing yards per game.
The difference in offenses shows up in the passing game. North Surry quarterback’s average 125.5 passing yards per game to Mount Airy’s 177. Bears quarterback Ian Holder, in addition to being a deadly threat passing, is the team’s second leading rusher.
No clear advantage can be given defensively for either team. Mount Airy averages 69 tackles per contest; North Surry is not far behind at 67.5. The Greyhounds average 2.3 sacks to the Bears’ 1.5. Mount Airy cornerbacks have nabbed eight interceptions from opponents to the Greyhounds’ five.
North Surry’s key to winning will be to dominate the rushing game. The two-headed monster of McMillian and Smith need to have monster games for the Greyhounds. Defensively, North needs to put pressure on Holder to keep him in the pocket. If they can keep him from scrambling and force him to throw quickly, it eliminates one of Mount Airy’s best assets.
The key for the Granite Bears to stay undefeated will lie with Holder and the Mount Airy receivers. Holder accounts for the most all purpose yards for Mount Airy and needs to be a threat both on the ground and in the air. Holder and receiver Donavon Greene have been a deadly duo this season and are vital to keeping the Bears undefeated. Defensively, Mount Airy must make quality tackles. McMillian and Smith for North Surry have the innate ability to gain yards after contact to move the chains. Taking down this duo on the first attempt will go a long way.
History sides with the Granite Bears, who have won 12 of the last 13 match-ups with the Greyhounds. The last time North Surry beat Mount Airy was 2006. What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? We find out Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith