REYNOLDS — Administrators and coaches at Reynolds will put their heads together Friday morning.
Confronting the most formidable opponent yet this football season is something that has to be done.
No offense, Asheville High.
Hurricane Joaquin is a potential menace for everyone in Western North Carolina.
The Rockets and others should decide by lunchtime whether to play as originally scheduled or not. Significant rainfall is predicted throughout the weekend which means that Monday could be the most likely night for makeup games. Brevard has already rescheduled its homecoming game against Tuscola for that date.
Updates on the status of all Western North Carolina games will be posted throughout the day at CITIZEN-TIMES.com/hshuddle.
Buncombe County and Mountain Athletic Conference football doesn’t get any better than Asheville-Reynolds.
Anyone want to dispute that? The two powerhouses have won a combined 46 conference championships and four state titles since 1961.
Danny Wilkins is the winningest coach in Cougars history (158 career victories and counting) and his team is 5-0 for the first time since 2011. Asheville travels to Reynolds (5-1, 1-0) this week for a game which will in all likelihood decide at least a piece of the outright MAC championship.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“The tradition and mutual respect we have for one another as programs is just outstanding,” Wilkins said.
“There have been some unbelievable finishes in front of capacity crowds. We’ve been blessed to be on the good side of some of them, and the wrong side, too. One thing you know is that it’s going to be no holds-barred and kids getting after each other. Funny things can happen. When two proud communities like this get together, anything can happen. And Reynolds is going to make a lot of money Friday (off ticket sales). But with all the hype, at the end of the day it comes down to the kids who are involved in the game.”
Asheville was predicted to win to win this year’s MAC outright championship by coaches, while the Rockets were picked second.
Reynolds senior quarterback Rico Dowdle (1,089 rushing yards, 690 passing yards) has factored into a Western North Carolina-best 27 touchdowns (21 rushing, six passing). His most trustworthy receiver – fellow senior Keyal Talbert (19 receptions for 190 yards for two touchdowns) – is expected to sit out Friday with a knee injury.
Other weapons for the Rockets are A.J. Logan (501 rushing yards, 159 receiving yards and five combined touchdowns) and Eunique Waters (11 receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown). Aundreas Hill (12.3 tackles per game) and the defense forced three turnovers last Friday. Najae Buchanan (8.5 tackles per game), Deshawn Finley (6.7), Austin McCurry (6.2), Talon James (5.3) and Malik Long (5.2) also make big contributions on that side of the ball.
Asheville overcame a 12-7 halftime deficit in its final nonconference game last Thursday. Reggie Battle (737 yards, nine touchdowns) rushed for a game-high 181 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 24 carries a game and 6.0 yards per attempt. Battle gets his handoffs from Devon Davidson (573 yards and six touchdowns with six interceptions) who has spread the ball around to Isaiah Drummond (eight receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns), Aquila Smith (six receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown) and Makaius Brewer (five receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns).
The defense is fortified by Christian Green (10.8 tackles per game), Micah Robertson (9.6), Brewer (6.8), Jose Daniels (6.8) and Shamauri Shivers (5.8).
“There is a lot on the line Friday night,” Reynolds coach Shane Laws said.
“There is still a ton of football left to play, no matter what happens. But at the same time, there are lot of implications for whoever wins this game. We’ve got to play well. Both teams are going to play hard, play their guts out. I don’t have any doubt about that.”
Asheville has won four consecutive games in this series and holds the all-time edge, 18-14.
“We’re well aware of that fact,” Laws said.
“It’s been getting a little old for our kids and coaches, it is definitely something hanging over our heads.”
The Great American Rivalry Series has chosen to showcase Asheville-Reynolds for the third time since 2010. Friday’s winner will not only get a trophy, there will also be a most valuable player award for the game and recognition for a top student-athlete from each side. Asheville is third in the latest Associated Press poll for NCHSAA 3-A. Reynolds is eighth.
ASHEVILLE AT REYNOLDS
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Pick: Reynolds by 1.
Following is a look at the last five football games between Asheville High and Reynolds. The Cougars lead the overall series, 18-14, since the two schools first played in 1977.
2014: Asheville 27, Reynolds 14.
2013: Asheville 27, Reynolds 17.
2012: Asheville 34, Reynolds 30.
2011: Asheville 35, Reynolds 29.
2010: Reynolds 41, Asheville 13.
Log onto CITIZEN-TIMES.com for weather updates on all of Friday’s games, score updates and live blogs from the Asheville High-Reynolds and Mitchell-Owen games.
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