By Lance Hickey
Leicester – Erwin’s quest for a playoff berth proved to be a success as the Warriors performed in high fashion, earning a dominant 34-7 victory over visiting Tuscola on Friday evening.
Tuscola began the game hot, thanks to a Coleman Bryson 69-yard interception return for a touchdown, handing the Mountaineers an early 7-0 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. Tuscola would not score again.
A Jared Penland 7-yd touchdown pass to Tristian Brank helped Erwin get within a point just before the end of the first quarter. The Warriors PAT would not be successful. The score remained 7-6 Tuscola at the end of the first quarter.
Erwin responded again with a 14-yard Monty Williams touchdown run with 1:28 remaining in the second quarter as Erwin took a 12-7 lead heading into the halftime break. The Warriors would not convert on their two-point-conversion attempt.
The second half proved to be all Erwin as Monty Williams would score a 5-yard touchdown run, giving Erwin a 20-7 lead. Williams would score his third touchdown of the ballgame with a minute gone in the fourth quarter, on a 4-yard carry for a score. Erwin took a 27-7 lead. A Penland 14-yard touchdown pass to Mikey Gettman gave the Warriors a 34-7 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game as Erwin would hold on.
The Warriors would hold the Mountaineers offense scoreless throughout the game.
“Defense has really been the steady key all year,” said Erwin head coach Rodney Pruitt. “We knew Tuscola wanted to shorten the game by milking the clock. We had to stand toe-to-toe. Our kids, they still had some fight in them.”
Erwin’s victory over Tuscola handed the Warriors a playoff berth. The Warriors will play at first-seeded Crest Friday. Erwin will be a 16-seed.
The Warriors (5-6) began the season 0-4, finishing the season 5-2 to secure a playoff berth. Erwin has made the playoffs each year since 2007, according to Pruitt.
The Warriors will continue its surge for another victory in Shelby, North Carolina Friday.