By Danny Ratcliff
Winston-Salem – Warrior Nation made the trip down the mountain to Mount Tabor High School in Winston Salem for the second round matchup in the NCHSAA State Playoffs. The fans came ready to cheer on the 10-1 Warriors. In fact by most accounts the visiting Warriors outnumbered the home fans. Unfortunately though that score didn’t count. After four quarters of play Erwin came up short 49-28.
Erwin received the opening kickoff and began efficiently marching down field to the surprise of the home Spartans. However, an errant pass in the red zone from quarterback Kendrick Weaver landed in the hands of the Mount Tabor secondary. What looked like a great start for the Warriors turned into a Spartan march back down the field for their first touchdown. The Warriors looked like they had the Spartans stopped but a fourth and five defensive stand turned south with a pass interference call. It was quickly 14-0 Spartans just minutes into the game.
On Erwin’s third series senior Rashod Chaffin turned the corner for a 70-yard jaunt and the Warriors we’re back in business. Chaffin had stepped in earlier in the season at running back after senior Don Mosley suffered a season-ending injury. Chaffins presence gave the Warriors a potent and balanced run-pass offense.
The Spartans scored again on their next drive making it appear to be a game of which defense would step up. With about 4 min to go in the 1st half and the score Mount Tabor 21, Erwin 14 it looked like the Warriors might make it to halftime down only a touchdown. But the Spartans found a way to squeeze in two more touchdowns to go to halftime up 35-14.
The Warriors started the second half with an onside kick and successful recovery. But the ensuing drive ended with an interception in the end zone that was returned the length of the field for another Spartan TD. The ensuing kickoff to Erwin was fumbled and the Spartans recovered the ball deep in Erwin territory. By the 3 minute mark of the third quarter Mount Tabor had 49 which would be a deep enough hole to ensure the warrior season would end on a cold and rainy night in Winston.
Mistakes and mishaps plagued the now 10-2 Warriors in their final game of the 2018 season. Some self-inflicted. Some at the hands of Mount Tabor. And the season-long playmaker combination of Weaver to Simeon Thompson wasn’t a guarantee against an athletic Mount Tabor team. A flawless and expertly executed game was necessary against a good but beatable Spartan squad. That unfortunately didn’t happen.
The Bright Side To The Season
The Warriors end the season with 10 wins – something only one other warrior team has done in the past 10 years. That stat alone puts this group of young men in some pretty rarified air as one of the most successful teams in recent history.
That same 10-win team a few years back was the only one to find a way to make it past the second round of state playoffs. If this team had found a way Friday night against Mount Tabor the hoped-for rematch with arch rival Reynolds would have happened in the third round. A confident and we’ll-rounded spartan team had something to say about those plans.
So instead Mount Tabor will travel to Fairview next Friday night to take on Reynolds while the Warriors unfortunately are relegated to watching from the sidelines. Erwin will take to their home court in basketball on Wednesday, Nov 28 at 8 pm to take on the Pisgah Bears.