WEAVERVILLE – Even for a football program which does it so regularly, the possibility of a 10-win season is worth noting.
Asheville High coach Danny Wilkins made that a theme of his postgame talk to his players Thursday night.
Reggie Battle hit Neal Hutchins for an 80-yard halfback pass on the first play from scrimmage and rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns before sitting out the second half of a 53-10 rout at North Buncombe.
The Cougars (9-1, 4-1) amassed 336 rushing yards as a team and threw the ball sparingly. But junior Devon Davidson continued to build on his first career 1,000-yard season by completing four of his five passes for 99 yards.
Christian Green was on the receiving end of the touchdown (6 yards) with just 25 seconds to go until halftime and added 89 rushing yards.
Asheville led 32-3 at the midway point of a Senior Night game for the Black Hawks (4-6, 3-2) that was televised live by WMYA (40). The Cougars need one more victory to reach double-digit wins for the 11th year since Wilkins became coach in 2000.
“We have a lot of respect for North Buncombe and I was a little anxious coming over here tonight,” Wilkins said.
“Everything about (playing on a Thursday) felt weird this week. But to come over here and play the way we did, especially early, is a credit to our kids.”
Battle got a little banged-up in the first half and was kept on the sidelines for the third and fourth quarters for precautionary reasons. The Cougars are hopeful that the senior, who has run for 3,533 yards the past three years, will be available for next week’s regular-season finale at home against Erwin (6-4, 4-1).
“Reggie is going to punch the clock and bring his lunch pail every day,” Wilkins said.
“We’re excited about all he’s been able to accomplish here from a football perspective. And not only that, he’s a good kid. A lot of people haven’t had the chance to get to know him like I have.”
Battle’s touchdown runs were for 6 and 8 yards on Thursday. Denzel McDaniels (7 yards), Ahmad Shivers (11) and Taejan Griffin (12) ran for scores as well. Jake Demetrius’ 27-yard interception return at the 10:39 mark of the third quarter was the Cougars’ first touchdown of the second half.
“Asheville whipped us up front. There’s no need to sugarcoat it,” North Buncombe coach Curtis Cagle said.
“They did whatever they wanted. Our kids fought as hard as they could. But we just couldn’t overcome that.”
Black Hawks senior Chase Parker was 16-for-29 for 281 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Blake Mathews made four receptions for 149 yards and zipped to the end zone with 41-yard touchdown pass from Parker with 6:41 to play in the third quarter. Ricky Thrash added six catches for 55 yards and Colby Maltry had four for 33. Nick Lisenbee rushed for a team-high 63 yards.
Tommy Apostolopoulos made his area-best 13th field goal of the season from 21 yards out in the first quarter.
North Buncombe wraps up its regular season next week at Reynolds.
More on this story to come….
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