By Benjamin Cohn
Asheville – Daring offensive play and a confident, focused defensive line culminated in a narrow Erwin win on Thursday night, when they edged out Asheville High’s Cougars 32-27. The game was moved up a day from its usual Friday night schedule in an [apparent] attempt to minimize contact with Tropical Storm Florence.
Winning the pre-game coin toss, Asheville opted to kick away their first possession, a show of confidence in their defensive line. Possession flipped back to Asheville after a clumsy play in the form of an early Erwin fumble.
Asheville struck first Thursday night when they scored the game’s first touchdown six minutes into the first quarter. A successful kick gave them the lead with 7-0. Shortly after this, Erwin suffered another setback when junior running back Don Mosely (#6) sustained injury to one of his legs during an offensive play. Mosely was helped off the field and spent the rest of the game under the care of medical staff.
Despite this, Erwin High tight end Tristian Brank (#11) ran enough yards to grant his team a first down. Slot receiver Simeon Thompson (#3) caught a pass from quarterback Kendrick Weaver (#2) and ran enough for another Erwin High first down.
With three minutes and 54 seconds left in the first quarter, Warrior quarterback Weaver threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jonathan Peay (#8). Those six points grew to eight when Thompson “rushed for a two-point conversion,” according to Craig Dayton, all-star reporter for high school sports website MaxPreps.com.
The first quarter concluded in Erwin’s favor, only a point ahead of the home team (8-7).
When the Warriors took possession of the ball in the second quarter, quarterback Weaver (#2) threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to slot receiver Thompson (#3). Erwin failed on the following two-point conversion attempt, the score 14-7 in favor of the Warrior.
On Erwin High’s next possession, Weaver flaunted the first of the night’s many bursts of Warrior athleticism when he rushed for a touchdown and with a good PAT made it 20-7.
Two minutes later, Asheville responded with a touchdown of their own, the score reading 20-13 in favor of Erwin.
Immediately afterwards, Erwin High tight end Moses Helmling deflected – then caught – a pass from Asheville quarterback Three Hillier (see video of amazing play at www.leicesterleader.com), scoring a touchdown in a play known as a Pick Six!
The second quarter expired with the score reading 26-13 in favor of Erwin
Once play resumed, Erwin kicked off to Asheville. When the Cougars’ offensive drive produced an Asheville passing touchdown, the score became 26-19 Erwin. Asheville scored again minutes later, a successful kick ending the third quarter with a slight edge in favor of the home team, the score 27-26.
Erwin High offense came out powerfully in the final quarter, when Thompson returned an Asheville kick for nearly 50 yards. A successful pass to Erwin’s Brank (#11) added six points to the team’s score. A failed two-point conversion determined the final score of 32-27 in favor of the Warriors.
According to MaxPreps, Erwin High’s record is 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Erwin hosts North Buncombe High next week at 7:30 on September 21.