KERNERSVILLE — Mount Airy scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to blow open a two-point game against Bishop McGuinness.
The Granite Bears led 14-0 at the half, but Bishop put up 12 straight points in the third quarter.
Two touchdowns and a long field goal from kicker Mitchell Brown put the game out of reach as the Bears stayed perfect in the Northwest Conference.
Receiver/defensive back Darius Gwyn put up a big night going both ways. He opened the scoring with a touchdown catch and stopped any comeback attempts with two interceptions.
Gwyn had three catches for 89 yards, including a 29-yard TD pass with 5:42 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, quarterback Austin Taylor scored on a 13-yard keeper that made it 14-0 with 3:23 before the half.
The third quarter was a different story as the Bears began to fumble the ball and gave up a safety on a bad snap to Taylor in the end zone with 8:24 left in the third.
Off the free kick, the Villains made their only sustained drive, moving down the field and scoring on a 1-yard run by Greg Salomon for a 14-9 margin.
The Bears had four turnovers in the game, one allowed Bishop to make a 36-yard field goal by Logan Howard with 28 seconds left in the third.
“We were abysmal,” said Coach Kelly Holder after the game.
“We thought we guarded against this all week long – we knew when we come down here, it’s always a dogfight,” the coach said. “We knew in warmups, we just weren’t ready to play. That doesn’t fall on anyone but me. … They played with some passion that we didn’t play with early.”
Still, after that rough third quarter, the Bears came back to life in the fourth.
Taylor scored again on a QB keeper, this time from 24 yards out. With a Brown kick, the Bears led 21-12 with 11:19 to go.
Through the first seven games, Taylor didn’t have a rushing touchdown, but he has produced three in the past two weeks.
After stopping Bishop, the Bears got the ball back and Brown boomed a 40-yard field goal, the longest of his career, with 6:38 left.
“We were having some turnover issues and things weren’t going our way at all,” Brown said. He thought making that long kick may have helped get the offensive engine running again.
Brown made all four extra points and the field goal to account for seven points and was named the WPAQ radio player of the game.
After one of Gwyn’s two interceptions, the Bears drove down the field again and finished off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by fullback Andrew Jones.
With running back Davontae Dobson going out of the game early on, and Zaqwan Dobson dropping the ball twice, Jones got most of his nine carries and 81 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Bears also were missing three starters with injuries.
“I know we’ve got people banged up, but that happens,” said Holder. “We have to have people step up, that’s all there is to it.”
Jones’ nine yards per carry was the best in the Mount Airy backfield.
Taylor led the Bears with 95 yards rushing on 11 carries. Zaqwan Dobson had 55 yards on 11 carries.
All told, Mount Airy had 259 yards rushing on 36 carries.
Taylor was 4-6 for 94 yards passing, with three of those completions to Gwyn.
Bishop posted 132 yards on 42 carries and finished with 198 yards of total offense.
The Bears (8-1, 5-0 Northwest) finish the season with two home games. On Friday they host South Stokes, then they finish the regular season against East Surry.