BOONVILLE — The Starmount football season didn’t start out as planned, but with Friday night’s win against North Wilkes, they’re a team to watch for down the homestretch.
Starmount is known for its strong running game, and the Rams (5-3, 3-1 MVAC) put it on full display in a 54-13 win.
Sophomore Peyton Mullins got things started, getting past the linebackers and running for his life into the end zone.
Then, arguably the MVAC’s best running back right now, senior Brandon Prescott, returned a punt to the 1-yard-line, then punched it in on the next play. Mullins and Prescott combined for seven touchdowns on the night in the blowout. Their young offensive line, filled with sophomores and only one senior has gradually improved.
“I can’t do anything without my line,” Mullins said. “It means the world to me. It means we’ve all got each other’s backs.”
“We’ve been kind of hard on them this week trying to push them and make them better, and they’ve responded,” Prescott said.
After last week’s 41-14 loss to Wilkes Central, coach Scott Johnson sent a message that was well received by the entire team.
“Coach Johnson said, ‘This is a bounceback week.’ We wanted to set the standard early and not let up,” Prescott said.
“Just really proud of how they bounced back after last week. They showed a lot of character,” Johnson said.
Defensively, Starmount forced three turnovers on the night, with Prescott returning an interception for a touchdown. Starmount’s other two turnovers came off of fumble recoveries. By halftime, Starmount led 41-7 to keep the Ram Rowdies entertained during their homecoming game.
Starmount opened the season up with two losses, but since then, it has won five of their last six games. If they want to continue the strong run, the Rams will have to defeat a team who has a strong run going of its own.
East Wilkes (8-0, 4-0 MVAC) came back Friday night to defeat Ashe County (4-4, 3-1 MVAC) to remain undefeated. With only two weeks remaining after that, Friday’s game could have big playoff implications if Starmount can pull off the win.
“We’ve got to go in with the mentality that they can be beat, but we can’t underestimate them,” Prescott said. “We have to go out there and give it our all.”
“We’ve got to keep everybody healthy and hopefully get one or two of the guys that are hurt back with us,” Johnson said. “Everybody thinks I’m lying when I say it, but [when it comes to prepping for upcoming games] we focus mostly on us. When game time comes we’re going to prepare for what the other team does, but our focus is always on us.”
Starmount travels to Ashe County the following week before closing out the regular season against Alleghany. If things go the way they hope, that won’t be the Rams’ last game of the season.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.