ELKIN — Mount Airy improved to 3-0 on the season Thursday night with a 51-14 road victory over Elkin, but it was senior Robert Brown who stole the show.
The Granite Bears’ placekicker put on a clinic for any college scouts who might have been in attendance, putting four kickoffs out of the field of play for touchbacks and scoring 15 points himself, on a perfect 3-for-3 outing kicking field goals, including a 46-yarder that would have been good from 50-plus, and 6-for-6 on extra points. Brown’s efforts kept the host Buckin’ Elks in miserable field position, an important factor in Mount Airy’s 37-0 first-half lead that led to a 51-14 victory.
The Bears, who are the state’s fourth-ranked 1A team according to NCPreps.com and No. 7 according to MaxPreps, scored on their first nine possessions of the game and forced a continuous clock when Donavon Greene scored on a 54-yard catch-and-run scoring pass with Ian Holder at the 9:50 mark of the third quarter. This gave Mount Airy (3-0) a 44-0 lead, and not long after, the Bears began to take some of the starters out.
Elkin (1-2) finally got on the board with 72 seconds left in the third, when Colt Henderson snagged a 20-yard pass from Beau Burgess to complete a long scoring drive. The Elks picked up their second score with 1:41 left in the game, when Jaylen Mayes hauled in a 69-yard scoring pass from backup signal-caller Ty Townsend.
Brown made all three of his field goals in the first half. The first came from 31 yards out on Mount Airy’s second possession, after the offense had two touchdowns called back for penalties. It gave the Bears a 10-0 lead with 6:28 left in the first quarter. The second came at the 5:09 mark of the second, from 31 yards out on the other side of Elkin’s Grissom field, and made the score 34-0. The last came when Mount Airy got the ball back in the final seconds of the first half and Elkin was flagged for a personal foul that gave the Bears the ball at the Elks’ 29-yard line. They ran one play to center the ball for Brown and then sent him on to attempt a 46-yard field goal, which he drilled as the clock ran out.
Elkin started off the game by giving help to a team that didn’t need any. After Brown blasted the ball out of the end zone and made the Elks start at their own 20, they promptly coughed up the ball on their second play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Jeremiah Rosser (who’d recovered the fumble) scored from 19 yards out on a toss sweep, exactly a minute into the game.
Elkin’s second possession started at its 19 and they went nowhere in three plays. Mount Airy went down the field and scored twice, but had both scores called back. They settled for Brown’s first 31-yarder and a 10-0 lead.
After another three-and-out for the Elks, Holder threw a pass to Greene for 49 yards, only to see him stripped at the end of the run. But Grayson Corbin saved the day for the Bears by pouncing on the free ball at the Elkin 21. Rosser took it to the house on the next play.
Beau Burgess hit Mayes for 29 yards and Elkin’s initial first down, but then the Elks had to punt again. Holder returned it for 49 yards to the Elkin 26. Jonathan Smith got the rest of the yardage on a running play, and it was 24-0 with 1:48 left in the opening period.
Mount Airy was on the move again as the quarter ended. Corbin hauled in a nine-yard pass from Holder 47 seconds into the second quarter to make the score 31-0.
The Bears’ last two possessions of the first half ended in two more field goals by Brown.
Mount Airy’s offensive starters stayed in to begin the second half, and Greene’s 54-yard score made it 44-0 and invoked the continuous clock rule.
Sandwiched between the two second-half scores by the Elks was a 54-yard run by Quentin Frost late in the third quarter that made the score 51-7.
The Bears will host Eden Morehead next Friday night. The Panthers, who host 2A power Reidsville tonight, are currently 2-0 with wins over Western Guilford and Martinsville (Va.). Elkin is off next week before traveling to South Stokes on Sept. 15.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.