By Lance Hickey
Asheville – Warrior football took a step back in its quest for a playoff berth, falling in heartbreak fashion at T.C. Roberson Friday evening, as the Rams claimed a 39-37 home victory over the Warriors.
The first quarter proved to be forgettable for both teams as T.C. Roberson committed two turnovers while Erwin committed a fumble, followed by a punt on the Warriors’ second possession. Neither team scored in the first period.
Following an Erwin interception on the Warriors’ first possession of the second quarter, T.C. Roberson capitalized on the Erwin turnover on a Shak Hill 53-yard touchdown pass to Rodney McDay. The Rams would capitalize on another Warrior turnover on the preceding kickoff with an Adam Porter 34-yard field goal to give Roberson a 10-0 lead.
Erwin had an answer later in the quarter on a Jared Penland 11-yard touchdown pass to Tristian Brank. Following this score, the time came for running back Monty Williams to take over. Williams followed Brank’s score with two touchdowns of his own on the Warriors’ next two possessions, one from 20 yards out and an 18-yard score to give Erwin a 21-10 lead with 3:35 remaining in the first half.
A four-yard touchdown pass from Brody Whitson to Devin Credle inched the Rams within 21-17 with under two minutes left in the quarter. Each team would turn over the ball once more before halftime. Erwin would lead 21-17 at the break.
The second half quickly became a slugfest as Roberson scored swiftly on a Zharius Looper 15-yard fumble return for a score with a minute and a half gone in the third period, as the Rams took a 24-21 lead. Erwin responded again on another Williams six-yard touchdown run as Erwin took a 29-24 lead with eight minutes remaining in the quarter.
A Whitson 48-yard touchdown pass to McDay gave Roberson a 30-29 lead with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Rams’ two-point conversion attempt would be unsuccessful.
Erwin responded on a Williams 19-yard touchdown run, his fourth score of the game, with 3:14 left in the game. A Whitson 84-yard touchdown pass to Hill tied the ballgame at 37-37 with 2:55 left in the game.
Erwin’s next possession proved to be costly as the Warriors’ Tre Hutchinson would be tackled in the endzone for a safety. Roberson took a 39-37 lead. Erwin would get the ball back thanks to an onside kick fumble recovery on their own 30-yard-line. The Warriors successfully drove the ball downfield, but would miss a 40-yard field goal attempt as they would fall to Roberson 39-37 in front of a packed crowd.
Erwin’s loss puts the Warriors at 2-6 on the season. The Warriors, though, hold a 2-3 record in conference play, including a highly-anticipated victory over a talented North Buncombe squad. Erwin gets a week of rest this week on a bye week, then plays at home against rival Enka on October 25 in what will be an important matchup for both teams.