TCR and ACR Win Football Playoff Openers - TribPapers

TCR and ACR Win Football Playoff Openers

Ram senior QB Lex Dinwiddie charges into the end zone, for TCR’s third TD in a 42-21 victory. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Asheville – Ronald Reagan might turn over in his grave, after his namesake high school repeatedly coughed up the ball in losing to T.C. Roberson.

Roberson Rams doubled up the visiting Reagan Raiders 42-21 in the R.R. Bowl, a 4A contest. Reynolds Rockets destroyed North Gaston Wildcats 45-0, in 3A. Asheville had it rough at Hough, losing 51-0 after trailing the 4A fifth seed by 34-0 at the half. Erwin lost 61-15 at 3A third seed West Henderson.

Coach J.D. Dinwiddie’s Rams are seeded eighth in the 4A West Region. They were opportunistic early on, as lanky Laron Mills recovered Raider fumbles on the visitors’ first three possessions.

When asked in the first quarter what the Raider offense does best, a Reagan assistant principal said, “Passing, normally. Tonight, fumbling. It’ll be a long ride home.”

One can imagine former President Ronald Reagan admonishing the school named after him for this repeated fumbling. As Reagan famously said in a televised debate in 1980 when teasing then-Pres. Jimmy Carter for multiple alleged lies, “There you go again!”

Indeed, there went the ball again and again — out of Raider hands and to Laron-on-the-spot Mills. His second fumble recovery was on a kickoff return, giving the ball right back to the Rams to set up their second TD.

Rhino Reno, Lex Hex

Reno Jeter ran wide right for the first touchdown, after taking a short shuttle pass from Lex Dinwiddie. A fumble recovery shortened the field for TCR. The Raiders fumbled away the ensuing kickoff return. Jeter scored again, less than three minutes later. Dinwiddie rolled left and tossed to Jeter. Jeter faked out a defender, then dragged another Raider with him across the goal line with 4:47 left in the first quarter. Reagan blocked the PAT.

The teams exchanged punts after Reagan’s next lost fumble. Enjoying the field position edge, TCR started from its own 40.

Dinwiddie gained three yards to the Raider 15 on a keeper, on fourth down and two yards to go. He eventually plunged in for the TD. The PAT was deflected, but made it barely over the crossbar. TCR led 20-0, 2:48 before halftime.

Next up at home for Roberson is Charlotte Catholic (8-3), the 22nd seed which upset ninth seed Myers Park 42-24. The Cougars rely on a K.C. Chiefs-like passing combo, of Charlie Smith and burly tight end Jack Larsen. The winner almost surely faces top seed Matthews Weddington (9-1). The Warriors are public enemy number one to Buncombe football fans, after beating ACR and AHS in recent playoffs.

North Gaston’s Gastro Pain

Seventh-seeded Reynolds (8-3) poured it on North Gaston (5-6) in the second half. Its Reynolds Wrap defense blanked the visitors, holding them to merely 59 yards of total offense all night long.

Austin Worrell’s long interception return from the 10 to midfield set up a field goal, the only score of the first quarter. Hayden Craig’s scrambles moved the chains.

Left-handed Craig rolled left and passed to Malik Angram on a crossing pattern. Angram stopped to await the ball, caught it on the ten, and scored the first TD on the 15-yard play.

Rocket senior defenders scored the next two TDs. Linebacker Ayden Hines snatched a fumble and ran it in. Cornerback Angram returned an interception 26 yards for a TD, on the second half’s initial drive.

ACR sophomores Tyvon Patterson and Jayden Smith combined to rush for 133 yards. Angram has also shined as a running back, in the absence of injured star junior Max Guest.

Head coach Shane Laws estimates that Guest can return in round three, to very likely face unbeaten second seed Hickory.

First, ACR hosts Kings Mountain (10-1), a perennial state title contender. KMHS is led by senior Robert Kendrick and sophomore Josiah Hill, a pair of 800-yard runners who’ve rushed for more than 25 total TDs. Likely looming in round four are third-seeded West Henderson or Pisgah, the 11th seed. The top seed is unbeaten Crest.

Warriors Fall

Erwin Warriors (4-7) lost at West for the second time this season. But on Friday, the 30th seed scored first. Talented freshman QB Caden Ingle connected with Lawson Reynolds on a 44-yard TD pass midway into the first quarter. Ingle passed for three TDs a week earlier, in a 51-15 tune-up win over North Buncombe.

Ingle ran six yards on a keeper against West to score in the first minute of the final quarter, as Erwin reached double digits in scoring. Ingle threw a pass for a two-point conversion.

But in between, it was all West. Erwin head coach Rodney Pruett said that the Falcons had “too much firepower” in both passing and rushing. West scored 16 more points against Erwin than Reynolds did, in a 45-3 win on Oct. 6.