Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley was added to my Christmas card list following his awe-inspiring three touchdown performance on Thursday night. Johnathon Smith decided to emulate the former Georgia Bulldog with a stellar three-touchdown performance of his own against Surry Central. The Golden Eagles had no answer for the ground game of Mount Airy, allowing the Bears to win their seventh consecutive game.
Mount Airy wasted little time getting on the board. The undefeated Bears returned the opening kickoff to their own 42-yard line. Quarterback Ian Holder took a chance early with a huge pass downfield to Jeremiah Rosser, who nabbed the pass for a 50-plus yard gain. Holder ran the ball into the end zone on a QB keeper. The Bears took the lead with only 60 seconds taken off the clock.
Central took over after a touchback and tried to execute its running game to little success. Ryan Martin and Martin Palacios both tried to penetrate the Bears’ defense, but failed to move the chains. Even with the help of a Mount Airy penalty, the Eagles failed to get a first down and punted the ball back to the Bears.
The Central defense once again had its hands full with Smith, who seemed to barrel through the opposition with no concern for human life. By running the ball and making short passes, it was no time before the Bears were back in the red zone. The Central cornerbacks did well to contain enemy receivers in the end zone and made Mount Airy settle for a field goal from Robert Brown.
Down 10-0 with more than six minutes left in the first quarter, Central needed a successful drive. Martin and Maisen Holt both tried and failed to get through the defense but ended up having to put once more.
Mount Airy mixed it up the next drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Donavon Greene. The TD was taken back due to a Bear penalty, however. So the Granite Bears went back to what was working, and that was giving the ball to Smith and wait for a touchdown. Mount Airy scored with 1:53 left in the first quarter on a run by Smith.
Surry Central desperately needed to get on the board, but once again were held up like a college student trying to enter a frat party without knowing a brother. Mount Airy forced another three-and-out and allowed Smith to continue dominating.
The Bears moved the chains into the second quarter and were knocking on the door of the Eagles’ red zone when Holder went down with an injury on a QB keeper. The next play saw Armando Estrada take over as QB. Estrada threw a pass to the end zone that was picked off by Central’s Blake Woods. Woods was injured on the play and spend the remainder of the game on the sidelines with other injured players and yours truly.
Unfortunately for the home team they weren’t able to capitalize on the defensive stop and gave the ball back to Mount Airy. Holder, now back at quarterback, gave the ball to Smith and let him do his magic. Smith moved the chains and scored his second touchdown of the night to put the Bears up 24-0.
Surry Central started to figure out the Mount Airy defense before halftime. Ryan Martin and Palacios moved the Eagles into Bear territory with strong runs. Their luck would soon run out when Martin fumbled and it was recovered by the Bears. Mount Airy inched down the field before scoring a rushing touchdown from, you guessed it, Smith.
After a four-down possession by Central to begin the second half, Mount Airy’s Cole Shelton nearly housed the punt but was stopped by Martin. The Eagle defense was not giving up, and forced a field goal when Noah Cox stopped Holder from moving the chains with a monster hit.
Quarterback Maisen Holt left the game due to injury in the third quarter and Palacios took over. Palacios, conveniently the team’s punter, executed a fake punt on fourth down to advance 30 yards. Palacios would go for it on fourth down once more on the drive but came up just short.
With the third quarter winding down and the Bears up 34-0, Mount Airy removed many of its starters, including Holder who was replaced by Estrada. Mount Airy stuck to running the ball to shave time off the clock and had success even with Smith off the field.
Robert Brown added yet another field goal to extend the lead to 37-0. Central kept fighting and continued to run the ball. Palacios and Martin progressively moved the ball down the field before Martin got his team on the board with 4:43 remaining. The Bears would run out the clock and earn a 37-7 road victory.
Mount Airy, ranked fourth in the state in 1A by MaxPreps, looks to continue dominating opponents when they host North Stokes next week. Surry Central falls to 0-5 and will host Atkins Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith