ASHEVILLE – September is the month where summer dovetails into the fall.
Seven undefeated teams from Western North Carolina would love for that to be the only change of seasons in the near future. Because football-wise, they have no complaints about their seasons so far.
Mitchell (4-0), Mountain Heritage (4-0), Roberson (4-0), Pisgah (3-0), Smoky Mountain (3-0), Tuscola (3-0) and Asheville School (2-0) were all undefeated as of Thursday.
The Rams (J.D. Dinwiddie) and Mustangs (Chris Brookshire) are walking that thin line of perfection with first-year coaches.
“These kids are playing hard and working their tails off every day,” Dinwiddie said.
“This is new territory for them. This group of kids have never been 4-0 before (the last such occurrence for Roberson football was 2012). Yeah, we’re having a good time and it’s fun. It’s very business-oriented, too. You have to learn how to handle not only adversity, but success. We’re happy with what we’ve done so far, but we want to compete for a Mountain Athletic Conference championship and that’s constantly on your mind.”
The Rams travel to two-time defending state champion Shelby Crest (2-1) on Friday.
Imagine how many ticket stubs will be ripped off if everyone keeps winning between now and the Pisgah-Tuscola game (Oct. 14 in Canton) or the Mitchell-Mountain Heritage game (Oct. 21 in Ledger)?
Heritage will try to continue holding up its end of the bargain with Friday’s trip to West Henderson (3-1). The usual traffic congestion on Interstate 26, exacerbated by the Mountain State Fair, aren’t the only worries for Cougars coach Joey Robinson and the No. 1 team in the Citizen-Times Best of the West rankings.
“(West Henderson) is absolutely always well-coached,” Robinson said.
“They are a lot like us in what they try to do. Defensively, they probably gave us as tough a time as any team we played last year. I feel good about where we’re at. As far as execution goes, this is the best we’ve been in a long time. I’m really pleased with how all the kids are playing, even the backups. We’re a little deeper than I thought and defense to be is the biggest difference in us from some years past.”
Mountain Heritage has scored on all but one possession the past two weeks in wins over North Buncombe and Rosman. And a touchdown was called back for a flag on that one possession in question.
Pisgah’s last game was Sept. 1 (a 17-14 live TV win over visiting Asheville High). The Black Bears pay a visit to former assistant coach Ben Rhodarmer and Madison (3-1) on Friday.
“Coming off an open week, you wonder are you going to be rusty? Are you going to come out and finish plays the way you should? We won’t know until kickoff,” Pisgah coach Brett Chappell said.
“I think it’s going to be a really good atmosphere over there. I think it’s going to be a great ballgame.”