MOUNT AIRY - Playing their first game in the 1A classification, the Rams opened the 2013 season with a statement win over fellow 1A powerhouse Mount Airy Friday night.
Starmount jumped out to a big 16-0 lead on the road before holding off the Granite Bears for the 23-13 victory.
The Rams, ranked sixth in the North Carolina Preps’ preseason poll, took advantage of a Mount Airy fumble on the opening kickoff. Starmount took over at the seven-yard line, where Joe Walker plowed in two plays later for the first points of the season.
On their next possession, the Rams drove down the field, but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Nick Gunnell to grab a 9-0 advantage heading into the second period.
After two more scoring opportunities were squandered by fumbles, Starmount broke through again as speedster John Johnson rumbled 51 yards for another score on his first carry of the season as the Rams pushed their lead to 16-0 with 4:58 remaining.
Mount Airy, ranked ninth in the same preseason rankings, mounted a comeback heading into the break as Logan Holder found Julian Rawley on a seven-yard strike with 1:36 to play. The two-point conversion failed as Starmount took a 16-6 cushion into the locker room.
The Granite Bears continued their comeback to open the third quarter as Davontae Dobson broke free on a 53-yard touchdown run to trim the lead down to 16-13.
Will Simpson added a five-yard score in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to pad the cushion.
From there, Starmount’s stout defense preserved the 23-13 victory and gave the Rams their fourth-straight win over the Granite Bears.
Starmount racked up 356 rushing yards on the night, led by Simpson and quarterback Zach Freed with 72 yards apiece. Johnson rushed for 63 yards on only four carries, while Trey Bryant and Walker added 58 and 53 yards on the ground, respectively.
The Rams’ stingy defense limited Mount Airy to 189 yards of total offense, while forcing three turnovers. Dobson led the way with 105 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.