Mount Airy earned another lopsided victory on Friday by defeating Ashe County 55-0.
Friday’s victory was Mount Airy’s 305th shutout victory and the team’s 101st game scoring at least 50 points.
The shutout was an all-around team victory for the Granite Bears. Mount Airy’s lockdown defense held 3A Ashe County to less than 120 total yards, the special teams unit put the Bears in excellent field position and capitalized on most PATs, and the offense moved efficiently all night. Mount Airy scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.
Tyler Mason did a little bit of everything against the Huskies. The Granite Bear sophomore scored a rushing touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, scored a pick-6 after running more than 30 yards and successfully returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown.
Mason’s second-quarter pick-6 was just one star play of the “Granite Wall” defense’s highlight reel. The Bears recorded four sacks in the win, with senior Nic Isom posting three sacks for the second-straight week. Deric Dandy had the team’s other sack.
The defense applied constant pressure to Ashe County quarterback Wesley Thompson. After throwing for 71 yards in the first quarter, Thompson was held under 30 yards passing for the rest of the game. Seniors Reece Deaton and Kasen Taylor were among the Bears forcing Thompson to throw earlier than he’d like.
Thompson completed just 14-of-31 passing attempts. Huskies sophomore Blake Peters completed one pass for 15 yards to bring Ashe County’s passing total to 115 yards.
Ashe found even less success on the ground. Senior Drew Roland carried the ball 10 times for 14 yards, and Thompson was only able to scramble once for four yards. Mount Airy’s four sacks came with a loss of 16 yards, which puts the team’s total yards rushing in the red.
Mount Airy forced eight Ashe County punts and two turnovers on downs. The Huskies only seven first downs in the game: four in the first quarter, one in the second quarter, none in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter. Two of Ashe’s first downs were results of Mount Airy penalties.
The Bears were afforded ideal starting field position thanks both to its defensive stops and strong punt returns. As a result, Mount Airy only needed 272 total yards of offense.
Friday’s game against Ashe County was also the first of the season in which Mount Airy had more yards passing than rushing. The Bears rushed 23 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Penn led the team with six carries for 58 yards and a touchdown, followed by Mason with four carries for 31 yards and a TD.
Sophomore Ian Gallimore continues to raise the bar in his first season as the Bears’ quarterback. Gallimore went a perfect 6-of-6 passing for 148 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Zeb Stroup led the team with three receptions for 109 yards, and two of his catches were made in the end zone.
Penn, Mason and Mario Revels also caught touchdown passes from Gallimore.
Walker Stroup handled most of the Bears’ kicking placekicking duties. Walker converted 5-of-6 PATs and also attempted a 49-yard field goal late in the game. Dylan Tilley went 0-for-1 on PAT attempts, and Zeb Stroup punched in a 2-point conversion.
Friday’s win marks Mount Airy’s third shutout of the season. The Granite Bears have now outscored opponents 216-6 this season, which is the program’s most points scored through four games since the 2008 Bears put up 232 points to start the season. The ‘08 team went on to win the 1A State Championship and score 845 points – the third-most single-season point total in North Carolina history.
But Granite Bear coach J.K. Adkins isn’t thinking about scoring records, championships or anything else beyond the next seven days. Adkins said he’s happy with Mount Airy’s 4-0 start to the season, but is more focused on how the team can keep building momentum moving forward.
“It’s easy to be complacent and happy with how things have gone,” Adkins said. “The way we have to view it, and the way our guys have to view it, is that it’s water under the bridge and every week’s a new week. We shut the door on the chapter for non-conference, and now we start our journey towards a conference championship.”
A fresh realignment gave Mount Airy a combination of new and old foes in the Northwest 1A Conference. The Bears are joined by: East Wilkes, North Stokes, South Stokes, Elkin, Starmount and Alleghany.
Mount Airy opens NW1A play against another heavy hitter in the conference, East Wilkes.
“We’ve got a really tough opponent that we’ve got to go see next week,” Adkins said. “We just have to stay focused and keep grinding. We’re going to be meticulous on grading film and find areas that we need to fix. I know it may not look like it to the standard viewer, but there’s a lot of areas that we can get better at.”
Mount Airy and East Wilkes (2-0) haven’t played each other since 2008. The Granite Bears won that matchup 57-0.
Mount Airy football historian Doug McDaniel contributed to this article.
Ashe County – 0, 0, 0, 0 = 0
Mount Airy – 21, 28, 7, 0 = 55
8:02 MAHS 6-0 – Ian Gallimore pass to Zeb Stroup 37-yard TD reception, PAT no good
2:23 MAHS 13-0 – Ian Gallimore pass to Mario Revels 10-yard TD reception, Walker Stroup PAT
0:10 MAHS 21-0 – Tyler Mason 50-yard punt return for a TD, Zeb Stroup 2-point conversion
9:34 MAHS 28-0 – Tyler Mason 10-yard rushing TD, Walker Stroup PAT
6:17 MAHS 34-0 – Ian Gallimore pass to Tyler Mason 1-yard TD reception, PAT no good
4:23 MAHS 41-0 – Ian Gallimore pass to Zeb Stroup 37-yard TD reception, Walker Stroup PAT
4:00 MAHS 48-0 – Tyler Mason 32-yard interception return for a TD, Walker Stroup PAT
8:50 MAHS 55-0 – Josh Penn 18-yard rushing TD, Walker Stroup PAT