Asheville – North Buncombe played its best football game in two seasons in a narrow loss at East Henderson, and Owen flexed its scoring muscles to nearly pull out a victory at North Henderson.
A.C. Reynolds (3-1) lost 37-28 at home to Rabun Gap (3-1), a Georgia private school state runner-up last fall. At North Henderson, Owen (0-3) bounced back in the second half of a 44-34 defeat. Asheville and T.C. Roberson were idle.
Warriors Pitchfork Devils
Erwin (2-2) gave up the game’s first three touchdowns, then outscored the Blue Devils 32-6. “Our guys battled and refused to lose,” head coach Rodney Pruett said of the “gutty performance. We recovered. We settled in defensively. ”
Erwin senior Iggy Welch passed for 339 yards and four TDs—two to Ty Johnson. Welch’s “bomb” scoring plays were to Johnson, covering 86 yards, and 51 to Demetrase “Meechie” Welch. “Iggy threw the deep ball as well as ever,” Pruett said.
Johnson had 253 total yards — 188 receiving and 65 on a rushing TD. Graves had 111 yards and a TD receiving. His 179 all-purpose yards included 40 in punt returns and 28 in returning two interceptions. Hunter Cromer had 41 receiving yards. EHS had 462 total yards, plus 135 return yards.
Welch fired his first scoring pass to C.J. Morgan in the left side of the end zone for a three-yard play in the second quarter. Welch then connected with Graves for a 51-yard TD, down the right side. Graves made a fingertip catch at full speed at the BHS ten, and cruised in. EHS trailed 21-12 at halftime.
Erwin outscored the only TD in the third quarter and had a 14-6 edge in the final quarter as Johnson made his three scores. Erwin’s first lead was by 25-21. Brevard (1-3) then led by one on P.J. Deshauteurs’ long TD run.
Welch launched a bomb to midfield for Johnson, who zoomed down the left side for an 86-yard TD. Erwin triumphed 32-27, to even its record.
For “disciplinary reasons,” Pruett sat two starters and three part-timers. He said that in the stress of the moment, players might “point fingers at each other, and give up. We didn’t this time. ” He said, “You have to grind it out for four quarters, and ‘bleed’ for your brother. We grew as a team. That can propel us “in Mountain Athletic Conference games that start with Enka at home Friday.
Hawks’ Superb Start
North Buncombe led all but five minutes Friday, including 21-13 at halftime. The Mountain State Fair opened that day. Game scoring was like a roller coaster ride. The Hawks scored first on Gabe Banks’ four-yard QB keeper midway into the opening quarter. Riley Ledford’s 18-yard TD run was sandwiched by two Marcus McCarson TDs for host East Henderson.
A minute before halftime, Banks hit Spencer Roane for an 11-yard score. East’s TD pass and two-pointer tied it at 21 seven seconds into the final quarter.
The Hawks retook the lead on Jesse Cook’s 31-yard field goal, with 6:45 to play. But two minutes later, McCarson’s five-yard run gave East its first lead — with 4:50 left. The Eagles hung on to win 28-24.
NBHS rushed for 245 yards in its Wing T veer option. Hayden Burnette ran for 91 yards (5.4 ypc.) and Cameron Higgins for 88 (6.8 ypc.). They had 30 of the team’s 44 carries.
“We executed our game plan much better today,” QB Banks said. “We got our gears (players) at the same pace.”
Veteran Coach David Hines, in his first year coaching NBHS, told his Hawks “I’m extra proud of you.” He noted “we didn’t make plays” at times, but there is much to build on. “We got big first downs. We got a field goal when we needed it,” to retake the lead late. “You’ve taken that next step” in getting more competitive, he said. “You got right to the edge” of victory. “Now, we have to learn how to finish. We’ll figure this out together.”
Hines was remarkably nurturing in consoling a tearful Hawk upset about going winless last season and so far in ‘22. Hines told the player, “It’s so frustrating to not see the outcome you want.”
AC’s Special Guest
Reynolds’ three slickest scores were by Max Guest. He totaled an amazing 228 yards and three TDs on three receptions. The first two were on screens left. First was his 86-yard scamper. He escaped a tackle, crossed the field, dodged more Eagles and broke free. ACR trailed merely 14-7. Later he covered 60 of 62 scoring yards after the catch.
Hayden Craig threw four TD passes. He weaved through Eagles then heaved the ball to Guest at their 45. Guess zoomed for the 80-yard score. Craig passed hit Cairo Skanes for a 20-yard TD. ACR scored again, holding a 14-10 fourth-quarter edge.
The defense had five sacks and held Rabun Gap to 169 total yards. But the Eagles scored on a KO return and three short drives off ACR punt miscues, and led 21-7 at halftime.
Owen slashed its deficit from 30-6 to 37-34 with a 28-7 run starting in the final minute of the first half. The comeback effort pleased new head coach Zach Gibson.
Senior QB Alex Sanchez accounted for all five of Owen’s TDs. He ran for three scores. He accounted for a large portion of Owen’s 379 total yards.Will Johnson and Hudson Meeks also ran hard. Sanchez passed for 192 yards and two scores—both to 6-4 Hunter Inabinett. But he threw four picks.
Owen recovered three NHHS fumbles—the first at the NH three to set up Sanchez’s one-yard TD keeper three minutes into the game. The East scored the next 30 points. Owen scored a minute before halftime on Sanchez’s 29-yard pass to Inabinett.
The Warhorses owned the second half. Sanchez raced 74 yards for a score. The Knights ran for a TD. In the fourth, Sanchez passed to Inabinett for a 79-yard TD, then ran for a 25-yard score. The PAT cut the lead to three. But the Knights’ 12-yard TD run clinched their 44-34 win.