The Granite Bears helped speed up a long, emotional night by keeping the clock running the whole second half.
Mount Airy led Friday’s football game with Elkin by 29-0 after the first quarter and 48-0 at the half. By the mercy rule, the clock ran continuously through the third and fourth quarters before the Bears won 62-7.
After starting the season with two road wins, the Bears held their first home game, which included a massive championship ring ceremony before the game, then a lengthy halftime tribute to the late Donald Price, Mount Airy’s long-time coach and athletic director.
The ring presentations — for all of the Bears who won individual or team state championships in the spring — got the home crowd pumped. And the Bears didn’t disappoint.
Gabriel King, who collected three of those state rings for his track and field accomplishments, led the defense to two stops.
On the first drive, Elkin quarterback Beau Burgess found receiver Jaylen Mayes for a quick pass and a first down.
However, King next made a tackle in the backfield, and the Bears forced a punt.
Mount Airy’s Sean Evans blocked the punt, which Clayton Cogdill recovered at the Elks’ 23-yard line.
Coach Kelly Holder said after the game that he wanted to give a few early touches to sophomore Donovan Green.
On the first snap, quarterback Ian Holder lofted a high pass toward the left side of the end zone. Green, at 6-foot-1, beat a smaller defender and came down with the ball at the goal line and stretched into the end zone for a 23-yard score. The Bears converted a two-point try for an 8-0 lead with 9:21 left in the first.
A booming kickoff (one of many from kicker Robert Brown) drove Elkin backward, and the Elks started at their 17-yard line.
Just like the first drive, Burgess hit Mayes for a first down, but King answered with a stuff tackle for a three-yard loss.
This time on the punt, Green brought the ball back to the Elkin 41-yard line.
Malik Frost picked up 11 yards for a first down at the 30-yard line.
Holder rushed for a 30-yard score on a keeper, but holding brought the ball back. That didn’t matter as Frost then went 40 yards for a touchdown. With the kick, it was 15-0 with 5:28 left in the first.
The Elks returned a squib kickoff out to the 41-yard line, but an unnecessary roughness call on Elkin moved the ball back to the 20. Three runs netted zero yards, and the Bears recovered a short punt at the Elkin 41-yard line. This marked the third straight drive that Mount Airy would begin in enemy territory.
Holder hit Green for a 27-yard pass to the 14-yard line. Holder then rushed to the 6-yard line before Frost scored his second TD.
With a kick, it was 22-0 with 2:27 left in the quarter.
A second straight three-and-out series by Elkin resulted in a punt that bounced out to Mount Airy’s 45-yard line, the Bears’ first time on their own side of the field.
That didn’t last long, as they scored on a 55-yard TD pass. Tanner Jackson lined up in the slot on the right side, ran a seam route, caught a ball in stride from Holder and was gone.
The score was 29-0 with 1:12 left in the first.
The next kickoff was deep and to the right. Brandon Laredo went back to retrieve the ball, nearly went into his own end zone, then only made it back to his 10-yard line. A third straight three-and-out gave the ball back to the Bears at the 40-yard line.
Holder and Frost kept the ball on the ground until Holder scored an 8-yard TD run with 9:44 in the second. Brown pulled the kick left for a 35-0 score.
The next kickoff went over the return team’s heads, then died at the 2-yard line. Mayes had to pick up the ball with the gunners charging down. He made players miss, cut left and got out to the 20-yard line, then cut back all the way to the right and reached the 41-yard line. It was the most exciting play of the night for Elkin.
The Bears nearly had a fourth three-and-out, but on the punt, the Bears ran into the kicker for a first down. Then a facemask call at the end of a run gave Elkin another first down at Mount Airy’s 21-yard line.
Frost, also playing on defense, made an interception near the goal line and was tackled at the 2-yard line.
Mount Airy used an end-around run to get Green the ball again, and the sophomore turned the corner and sprinted up the left sideline for a 98-yard run that might be a school record, according to radio station WPAQ, which covers every Bear game.
Brown missed a second PAT, but the Bears led 41-0 with 5:56 left in the half.
The Bears halted the Elks and got the ball back once more with less than four minutes in the half. Freshman Johnathon Smith broke free for a 45-yard TD run to make it 48-0 with 2:57 left.
After a fifth three-and-out, Elkin punted once more, and Mount Airy kneeled out the clock.
Green opened the third quarter by returning the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point, the score was 55-0, and the clock ran nonstop for the entire second half.
On the next possession, with most of the Bear starters on the sideline, Elkin got its first sustained drive, marching down the field before junior Colt Henderson made a run around left end and was tackled at the 1-yard line. Burgess used a quarterback sneak to score from there. With a Cory Wiles kick, the Elks made it 55-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears had their longest drive before sophomore Cole Shelton scored from 14 yards out to finish the scoring.
Shelton, who had more than 80 yards rushing in the second half, was the Bears’ leading rusher on the night.
As a team, the Bears had 23 carries for a whopping 341 yards — including 50 or more yards by four different players (Frost, Smith, Shelton and Green).
Holder was 3-5 for 104 yards, giving Mount Airy 445 yards from scrimmage.
Green had a touchdown as a receiver, as a rusher and as a kick returner. Through all three means, Green might have had 300 total yards.
Elkin finished with 24 carries for an estimated 36 yards. Burgess was 7-18 for 89 yards with one interception.
Mount Airy improves to 3-0 on the season, while Elkin drops to 0-3.
Next up for the Bears is a trip down Pine Street to face rival North Surry, who beat Elkin 40-6 a week earlier.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.