Mount Airy beat South Stokes 2-1 on Senior Night for the soccer team.
The Bears celebrated their five seniors during halftime of a game marred by incidents.
The Sauras’ keeper received two yellow cards and a red card to be ejected from the game. The South Stokes coach also received a yellow card.
The seniors honored were Ian Halpern, Alex Mayo, Daylon Shaw, Corey Valentine and Tyler Wall.
Shaw provided the Bears with the first score of the game.
He brought the ball down the right side of the defense and flicked a soft ball toward the center to the far post. Felipe Chavez headed the pass into the net late in the first half for a 1-0 lead.
The Bears nearly scored again with four minutes left in the half.
Sam Watson passed ahead to Mitchell Brown, who attacked from the left side.
Brown had just passed the football goal line and was about seven yards from the goal when a defender tried to make a sliding block and hit Brown’s leg instead.
The junior fell to the ground as the ball rolled out the back line. The play should have given the Bears a penalty kick, but the refs ruled a corner kick.
On the kick toward the goal, Brown attempted to head the ball in, but the Sauras’ keeper reached above him and snatched the ball out of the air. On coming back to the ground, the keeper shoved Brown in the chest, knocking him to the turf.
When the officials interceded, the keeper said that Brown punched him in the back, but Brown clearly was in front of the keeper on that play.
Both players received yellow cards.
Players on other local teams also have noted the Sauras’ penchant for rough play and yellow cards.
Coach Will Hurley implored his players not to retaliate and get thrown out of the game.
In the second half, the Bears scored a second goal as Watson found Brown with a pass.
The back line was really solid all night, said Hurley.
Co-captain Carlos Carrillo had 40 touches and dozens of clears. John Hardy added 22 clears, Cristian Cabrera 18 and Halpern 17.
The one goal that was scored shouldn’t be counted against their efforts, either, the coach said. The team was pushed up, and the back line was far upfield. South Stokes got behind them and made a shot.
Mayo, the Bears’ keeper, stopped 13 other shots and provided good clears.
On one play, Mayo made the save, then punted the ball high and deep down the field.
Some of the Sauras were standing around the Bears’ 40-yard line while some others were near midfield. The ball sailed over all their heads to the Sauras’ 40-yard line, giving the Mount Airy forwards a chance to attack.
That is such a weapon, said Hurley. And, Alex can throw the ball as far as he can kick it.
On offense, Luke Needham was “fantastic” as he was very involved in the action, dribbling and distributing to teammates.
Seniors Valentine and Wall also played very well up top, according to Hurley.
The win moves the Bears to 13-7-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the Northwest Conference.
The Bears came into the night off a very rough eight days, losing three straight to three of the best teams in the league.
West Stokes, Bishop McGuinness and Surry Central are a combined 28-6 in the Northwest Conference, and all but one of those six losses came against each other.
Next week doesn’t get any easier, the coach noted, as the Bears play Tuesday and Wednesday in games postponed from earlier in the season by rain.
Mount Airy hosts Bishop on Tuesday, then travels to East Surry Wednesday for the season finale.
Reach Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1920.