East Surry hung close with Mount Airy for 20 minutes, but behind Zaqwan Dobson the Granite Bears blew the game open for a 51-7 win.
About midway through the second quarter, the score was tied 7-7 and the Cardinals had stopped the Bears with a fumble strip in the red zone.
When a punt snap flew out the back of the end zone for a safety, the flood gates opened as the Bears ran off 23 points in four-and-a-half minutes for a 30-7 halftime lead.
In the early going, the Bears couldn’t get into scoring range against the Card defense.
Still, Mount Airy took the lead when the defense stepped up.
On a third-and-11 play, East QB John Dickenson was under pressure and threw a pass that was picked off by Zaqwan Dobson, who ran 31 yards to the end zone. With an extra point from Mitchell Brown, the Bears led 7-0 with 8:53 left in the first quarter.
After a few empty possessions, the Bears took over on their 10-yard line.
The first good drive by either team moved the ball all the way to the Cards’ red zone on a long pass to Darius Gwyn. However, a penalty brought the play back. A sack by Christian Shinault ended the drive.
After a punt, East Surry was at the 38-yard line when Dickenson hit Cory Russell for a 22-yard pass to the Bear 40-yard line. On the next play, Dickenson went deep down the right sideline to Jeremy Gilley for a 38-yard play to the 2-yard line as the first quarter ended.
On the first play of the second quarter, Zack Koons squeezed in for a score to tie the game 7-7.
After swapping punts, the Bears started at their 27-yard line and moved all the way to the East 20 when Taylor lost the ball.
With a long bounce and roll, the Cards recovered at their 10-yard line with a chance to take the lead.
They couldn’t move the ball, and the punt try ended in a safety to give Mount Airy a 9-7 lead with 4:32 left.
The Cards hit a squib kick down the field, and Logan Young picked it up. He raced all the way to the Cards’ 18-yard line.
Taylor gained six yards on a keeper, then Zaqwan Dobson rushed 12 yards to the end zone for his second TD of the game. That made it 16-7 with 4:06 left in the half.
On the next drive, the Cards fumbled the ball, and Andrew Jones recovered for the Bears at the 10-yard line. An unsportsmanlike penalty after the play moved the ball down to the 5-yard line.
Dobson wasted no time powering in from five yards out for his third TD for a 23-7 game with 3:51 in the second.
East Surry came out with a couple of good pass plays. A quick slant to Austin Johnson was followed by an 18-yard pass to Gilley that moved the ball to the 35 after a five-yard facemask.
The Bears then held and forced a turnover on downs with 1:53 left.
A couple of scrambles by Taylor and a pass to Young moved the ball to the 28-yard line.
On third-and-long, Dobson ran 28 yards to the end zone for a 30-7 lead with 16.6 seconds left.
Dobson finished the half with three rushing TDs and one interception TD.
When teams get off to a slow start, coaches sometimes say their teams hadn’t gotten off the bus yet.
On Friday, one Bear assistant said the team didn’t get going until it got on the bus. As in Dobson doing his best Jerome “The Bus” Bettis impersonation.
Taylor scored from 12 yards out just a minute and a half into the third quarter for a 37-7 lead.
Sophomore RB Shay Wilson, playing in place of the injured Davontae Dobson, scored from 20 yards out with 2:50 left in the third. He scored again midway through the fourth on a one-yard run.
That final score gave the Bears 50 points for the first time in the season.
Bear historian Doug McDaniel noted on Thursday that the Bears had scored 50 or more points in at least one game each of the past nine years under Coach Kelly Holder. This game continues the streak for a 10th season.
The Bears scored seven touchdowns on the night, and Brown converted each extra point. He finished the season on a streak of 33 straight makes.
When the Northwest Conference soccer coaches meet this weekend, Brown should be voted onto the NW all-conference team. He also should receive votes for the football all-conference team for his special teams work.
After the game, Zaqwan Dobson credited defensive lineman Isaiah King for causing the interception by pressuring Dickenson.
As for his rushing totals, Dobson thanked his offensive line for creating holes.
The Bears clinched the Northwest championship for the fifth time in six years and will be number-one seed for the 1A state playoffs.