BOONVILLE - In a season full of dominating victories, Starmount turned in arguably its most decisive win of the year Friday night against North Wilkes.
The Rams scored 27 second-half points to turn a somewhat surprising 13-0 halftime lead into a comfortable 40-6 victory. Head coach Scott Johnson credited adjustments made in the locker room.
“I’m really pleased with our kids for adjusting,” he said. “They showed us a lot of different looks offensively and defensively, and we did a good job of adjusting. I thought we came out after halftime and we did what we asked them to do and it payed off.”
The Rams racked up an even 500 yards of total offense against the Vikings, with a season-high 492 yards coming on the ground.
Chaston Martin ran wild, powering his way to 231 yards and three touchdowns in his finest performances of the season to lead Starmount’s potent offense. Will Simpson finished four yards shy of the century mark as 10 Rams ran the ball at least once.
James Watson (42 yards) Hunter Myers (33), Sergio Sarinara (30) and Aaron Skeens (23) all helped Starmount set a new season mark.
The stout Ram defense continued its strong play, blanking the Vikings’ offense in the game - the only North points came on a kickoff return touchdown in the fourth.
The 90-yard return score was the first touchdown scored against the Rams in Mountain Valley Conference play. Starmount has not still allowed an offensive touchdown since Week Two against East Surry, a run that spans 27 quarters.
Starmount got off to a fast start when Brian King ran it up the gut from three yards out on the Rams’ second possession of the game for an early 7-0 lead.
Two possessions later, Martin broke free for a 78-yard burst to the 13. Two plays later, Watson found paydirt on the first play of the second quarter to give Starmount a 13-0 lead.
The Rams were unable to capitalize on field possession in the second, taking just a 13-point lead into the locker room.
“We should have another score before halftime, but we had that penalty down there,” Johnson said. “I thought it was a big point in the game, it was a momentum shift for them.”
But Martin took over in the second half, darting down the right sideline for a 45-yard score early to put the Rams up 20-0.
After Houser and Michael Wood combined on a sack to force a third-straight three-and-out to open the half for the Vikings, Martin found paydirt on a 20-yard scamper three minutes later to extend the lead to 26-0.
Following a fourth three-and-out, Martin broke free again for 62 yards down to the 21. On the next play, the senior darted through the defense for his third rushing touchdown of the night as Starmount took a commanding 33-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Josh Martin did something no other conference player was able to do up to that point - score a touchdown against the Rams - when he broke free 90 yards to put the Vikings on the board.
But Simpson sealed the dominating 40-6 win with a 41-yard score down the right sideline two minutes later.
“We worked really hard on our jets and rockets this week in practice and that really showed up in the game,” Johnson explained. “I’m trying to get them to work on the little things. At this time of the year, it’s the little things. They don’t see it as that big of a deal, but it’s the little things that are making us better.
“We are just trying to get better in November and be the best we can be. It’s something we take a lot of pride in around here - better each week and really good at the end,” he added.
With the win, Starmount stayed perfect on the season at 8-0 and 6-0 in the conference. The win was the Rams’ 39th-straight MVAC victory and improved their record against North Wilkes to 20-0-1 all-time.
Starmount returns to the field Friday against Alleghany on Senior Night with two games remaining on the schedule with a fifth-straight conference title in its sights.
“I’m proud of them. They’ve been a great group to be around all year,” Johnson said. “Coming into the year, a lot of people said Starmount won’t be Starmount … but I think we’re still Starmount.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.