Here is a report on Friday’s Erwin-North Buncombe football game from correspondent Marlon Morgan:
ASHEVILLE – It didn’t look good for Erwin when North Buncombe kicker Tommy Apostolopoulos lined up for a potential game-winning 45-yard field attempt with 10.8 seconds remaining in Friday night’s pivotal Mountain Athletic Conference 3-A game.
Erwin coach Mike Sexton was left to watch from the sideline, hoping something went wrong. And something did. After a high snap, Apostolopoulos’ kick was just short, and the Warriors escaped with a thrilling 36-34 win on Senior Night at Erwin.
“He’s a great kicker,” Sexton said. “That’s high school football. So many things can happen.’’
The win improved Erwin to 6-4 overall, 4-1 in the conference, while the Black Hawks lost in league play for the first time, dropping to 4-5, 3-1.
After leading 20-6 at the half, the Warriors found themselves in a second half shootout after a few adjustments got North Buncombe’s offense in high gear. The Black Hawks got their running game going with tailback Nick Lisenbee scoring on a 1-yard run to pull within 20-13.
After holding the Warriors to three-and-out, North Buncombe regained the ball on its 1-yard line. The Black Hawks then marched 99 yards in 18 plays, tying the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Chase Parker to Blake Mathews.
The Warriors finally got going again on their next possession to score on the game’s flukiest play. Running back Isaiah Poore broke loose for 27 yards before fumbling, only to have receiver Kealin Goode scoop the ball up and race the final 34 yards for a touchdown. A pass from quarterback Damien Ferguson to Goode on the two-point conversion put Erwin up 28-20.
North Buncombe again answered with Parker scoring from four yards out. His pass to Mathews on the conversion tied the game at 28.
Ferguson got the lead back for the Warriors with a one-yard run, and Austin’s two-point conversion made it 36-28 with 5:02 remaining in the game.
Parker went to the air this time, finding Colby Maltry streaking down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown. But his pass on the conversion attempt was incomplete. After forcing Erwin to punt, the Black Hawks got the ball with just under three minutes to play.
With the help of a 11-yard scramble in which Parker broke numerous tackles, then a 24-yard pass to Mathews on a fourth and 22 play, the Black Hawks were able to get in position to pull out the win.
“It was an unbelievable ball game,” North Buncombe coach Curtis Cagle said. “It was hard-fought both sides, back and forth. No one dared quit. It was two teams that wanted to win. That’s how it’s supposed to be played. Hats off to Erwin. They played great. Hats off to my young men. They played outstanding.”
For the Warriors, it was just another night of football.
“These kids have done that all year long,” Sexton said. “Every week they’re in a battle. Maybe they don’t sleep well on the weekend if they’re not in a battle.
“I’m proud of them. They keep fighting. We’ve had a tough 10 weeks. We’ve had a tough, tough schedule all the way through. Everybody’s played well against us. I’m proud of them to come through and win against a good North Buncombe team.”
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