Quick start keys Starmount romp over Bears
Starmountâs football team accomplished a lot of firsts on the first night of the regular season.
The Rams scored on their first possession, setting the tone for what would be an impressive 50-23 victory over visiting Mount Airy.
Head coach Scott Johnson earned a win on opening night for the first time since taking over in 2005.
Starmount beat Mount Airy for the first time since a 2004 playoff triumph and secured the first 1-0 start for the varsity football program since 2003.
Oh, and the Rams also handed the Granite Bears their first regular season loss since late in 2007, a streak that dates back over 30 games.
If first impressions are any indication, this could be another special year in Boonville.
WATCH WXII12.COM VIDEO FROM THE GAME: Starmount Defends Home Turf And Downs Mount Airy – Video – WXII The Triad.
âThis is my sixth year as head coach and weâve not beaten Mount Airy until this year,â Johnson said afterward. âThey beat us the first year in a close game, right at the end. Then they kind of handed it to us until last year. Itâs just been a process. Weâre working and trying to get better. Kids are busting their tails.â
The hard work was evident Friday night. The Rams chewed up 426 yards of offense against what has been one of the stingiest defenses in 1A football in recent years. Fondae McDaniel galloped for 109 yard and two touchdowns on seven totes, including one spinning run that resulted in a 48-yard score in the final minute.
Israel Murphy added another 95 yards on nine carries before exiting early in the third quarter due to dehydration issues. Quarterback Jake Barr ran hard early, finishing with 74 yards on seven carries. The senior preseason all-state pick also finished with two touchdowns.
Barrâs one-yard plunge over the left side of the line as time expired in the first half may have been the Ramsâ biggest yard of the night. Mount Airy had just scored with 2:53 left in the half to cut its deficit to 22-10. Had the Bears been able to keep the score locked there, maybe some momentum would have swung toward the visiting sidelines coming out of intermission.
Instead, Starmount marched 65 yards in 10 plays to push its advantage out to 29-10 at the break. Barr had been stopped short of the goal line on a sneak on play number nine, with the clock ticking under 10 seconds. The Rams huddled quickly and Barr was able to get the next play off just as the halftime horn sounded.
âI was really wanting to run out the clock but we had a couple of good runs and executed a little bit in our two-minute âO,ââ Johnson said. âIt was really good to come back and answer that touchdown. I thought that was a big part of the game.â
Starmount picked off Mount Airy quarterback Ben Hinson twice, including an interception from Kyle Weatherman that stopped a Bearsâ drive inside Rams territory late in the third quarter. McDaniel rushed for 28 yards on the next play and scored three snaps later to essentially put the game out of reach, 36-10.
The last 3:22 of the game featured a flurry of scoring, with each team tacking on two touchdowns. Zaqwan Dobson scored on a one-yard run for Mount Airy. Starmount answered with a 65-yard TD jaunt by Tanner Vestal. The Bears got a 75-yard TD run from Ty Simmons before McDaniel closed the book on the scoring with his 48-yard sprint to the end zone.
Despite his team finishing with a burst, Mount Airy coach Kelly Holder said it was a rough night overall. Mount Airy won the 1A state championship two years ago and finished as the 1A runner-up a year ago. A number of star players from those two teams have graduated from the program.
âWe really didnât do anything good. A lot of that has to do with Starmount,â Holder said. âThey are pretty doggone good. We definitely killed ourselves on offense many times. Turnovers killed us. Penalties killed us. We couldnât even line up a couple of times. Youâve got to take that blame yourself.â
Things donât get easier for Mount Airy. The Bears must prepare for Thomasville next Friday.
âWeâve got a long way to go if weâre going to be a good football team,â Holder said. âOur kids need to know that and our coaches need to know that. We just didnât play very wellÂ âŚ Iâm not saying we canât be good because I think we can. To compare this team to the teams weâve had in the past is unfair to the kids. But we can definitely do much better than we did tonight.â
Starmount will face another Surry County rival next week, traveling to Pilot Mountain to play East Surry.
Starmount 50, Mount Airy 23
Friday * at Boonville
10:37 – ST – Jake Barr 23 yd run (Christian Hurt to MJ Bryant)
5:00 – MA – Dylan Wright 25 yd FG
0:57 – ST – MJ Bryant 5 yd run (Ben O’Donnell kick)
11:19 – ST – Bryant 29 yd run (O’Donnell kick)
2:53 – MA – Demetris Rucker 16 yd run (Eduardo Garcia kick)
0:00 – ST – Barr 1 yd run (O’Donnell kick)
10:28 – ST – Fondae McDaniel 5 yd run (O’Donnell kick)
3:22 – MA – Zaqwan Dobson 1 yd run (kick failed)
2:57 – ST – Tanner Vestal 65 yd run (Alan Mendenhall kick)
2:38 – MA – Ty Simmons 75 yd run (Garcia kick)
0:53 – ST – McDaniel 48 yd run (Mendenhall kick)
Rushing: McDaniel 7-109; Murphy 9-95; Barr 7-74; Vestal 1-65; Bryant 12-53; Billips 3-14; King 1-2; Stone 1-(-3); TOTALS: 41-409
Passing: Barr 1 of 4 for 17 yards – 1 INT
Receiving: McDaniel 1-17
TOTAL YDS: 426 yards
Rushing: Simmons 6-89; Rucker 15-81; Schwatz 9-38; Dobson 6-32; Hinson 8-29; TOTALS: 44-269
Passing: Hinson 2 of 10 for 41 – 2 Ints
Receiving: Marion 1-37; Rucker 1-4
TOTAL YDS: 310 yards
– Stats courtesy Deana King