Mount Airy got three chances to win the game and succeeded on the third try.
Robert Brown kicked a 40-yard field goal — with plenty of distance to spare — to defeat North Surry 16-15 on Friday night.
The Greyhounds held a 15-3 lead in the first half and were still up 15-6 until the final play of the third quarter.
The Bears scored to cut the lead to two, and North Surry’s offense couldn’t do anything right after that.
With five possessions in the final period, the Hounds went three-and-out twice, were intercepted and lost a fumble. The only first down came on the running play where the fumble occurred.
Not only was the offense sputtering, but throwing incomplete passes and running out of bounds repeatedly stopped the clock, giving Mount Airy numerous chances to come back.
In the first quarter, it was an interception by Cooper Orange that gave the ball to the Granite Bears at the North 29-yard line.
The Bears got inside the 10 before the Hounds stiffened on defense. Brown converted a 24-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first.
The Hounds got a good kick return from Colton Acord to the 43.
A couple of good plays and a 15-yard late takedown out of bounds helped North get inside the 10 themselves. However on fourth-and-goal, QB Avery Smith was stopped at the 2-yard line.
The Bears tried a rollout to the right, but the defense pushed QB Ian Holder to the back of the end zone. He tried to loft the ball out of bounds, but the officials ruled intentional grounding, which awarded a safety to North Surry to make it 3-2.
The Bears kicked off from the 20, instead of the 40, and Acord brought the ball all the way back to Mount Airy’s 30-yard line.
Andrew Smith picked up 15 yards, then from the 13-yard line, Acord went in motion left to right, caught a screen pass and broke a tackle for a 13-yard TD catch. A missed two-point try made it 8-3 with 11:11 in the half.
The senior receiver continued to be a one-man highlight reel as Acord picked off Holder and returned it to the 35-yard line.
Slot receiver Carson Todd caught a 30-yard pass on a seam route for a first down at the 5-yard line.
Backed up to the 7, Avery Smith threw a low slant pass to Acord for a touchdown to make it 15-3 with 8:38 in the half.
A fired-up defense stopped the Bears for a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense as it was clicking.
Getting across midfield, the Hounds had third-and-1, but a QB sneak went for a two-yard loss, and the Hounds punted.
With the way North Surry was rolling, that defense stand on third-and-1 was one of the biggest plays of the game.
The Bears took over on their 28-yard line and put together one of the best drives of the night. They ground out yards and picked up four first downs into the red zone.
They might have scored, but Acord reached out with one hand and snagged Holder’s jersey on a run to prevent a TD.
Still, Brown kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 15-6, giving the Bears some momentum going into the half.
The Bears went three-and-out to open the third quarter, but Gabriel King came up with a big sack to force North Surry to punt it right back.
From the 26-yard line, the Bears again pounded the ball on the ground, getting four first downs and finishing the drive with a 6-yard TD run by Jackson Smith as time expired in the quarter. That made it 15-13.
In one stretch in the fourth, the teams combined for three turnovers in just 15 seconds.
Avery Smith hit Andrew Smith for a screen pass that picked up the Hounds’ only first down of the quarter, but as the back fought for yardage, the ball came out at the Hounds’ 41-yard line. That brought a massive roar from the home crowd.
On the very next play, the Bears fumbled it right back, bringing a cheer from the visiting side.
However, with the lead and the ball with 7:30 left, the Hounds lost five yards on a sack, then tried a pass over the middle that sailed high. Orange picked it off for his second interception of the night at the 40-yard line.
A holding penalty helped North make the stop, and the Bears punted it back.
With 5:32 left, the Hounds had an incomplete pass and then a delay of game to make it second-and-15. On a scramble, the quarterback ran out of bounds to stop the clock. North reached fourth-and-3 and decided to punt.
The ball was badly shanked and barely reached the line of scrimmage, but rolled to the 41.
One first down later, the Bears were close enough for a 38-yard try, but Brown missed to the right.
With 1:56 left, the Hounds had a short run that got a couple of yards and kept the clock moving. However, the next play lost about seven yards. An incomplete pass stopped the clock with 1:37 and forced North to put.
Another poor punt only reached the 38-yard line.
Holder picked up eight yards, and Kenyon Smith got four to earn a first down.
Jackson Smith moved early on a pass play, but the referees didn’t throw a flag, and the Bears completed a pass to the 18-yard line.
After a spike to stop the clock, Brown lined up for a 35-yard field goal.
Brown hit the ball plenty hard enough, but missed left. However, the play didn’t count because of a false start on the offensive line.
Moved back to a 40-yard distance for his third try, and Brown came through with the winning field goal.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692 and on Twitter @SportsDudeJeff.