Warriors beat Rams to remain in MAC hunt

Erwin football players celebrate a touchdown in Friday's home win over Roberson.

Erwin football players celebrate a touchdown in Friday’s home win over Roberson.

ASHEVILLE – The scoreboard only shows numbers — not pictures.

The box score in the newspaper is comprised of numbers, not pictures.

In this case, the numbers show that Erwin defeated Roberson 26-18 on Friday night.

They do provide a glimpse into the ugliness of a game that included 27 penalties, 35 incomplete passes, three fumbles and three interceptions.

“It was untraditional,” Roberson coach J.D. Dinwiddie said. “With Erwin and its high-powered offense, and our ability to score, you’d think it’d be a track meet.

“But both defenses played hard and played well.”

The numbers on the scoreboard that designate the time clicked 59 times counting down 59 seconds in the third quarter. In the time it took to go from 9:43 to 8:44, the Warriors made the three most memorable plays of the game.

They turned a game fit more a field full of mud and slop than a fine field turf of plastic blades completely in their favor. For those 59 ticks they didn’t make a mistake, get called for holding or commit an illegal procedure.

The Warriors turned a 10-6 deficit into a 19-10 lead.

“One big play can spark everything,” said Erwin running back Isaiah Poore, who finished with 59 yards and a third-quarter touchdown on 13 carries.

Erwin defensive back Jacob Silver lit the fire.

The Rams (6-2, 2-1) called a simple screen pass, but somebody missed a signal — not Silver. He listened loud and clear at halftime when the Warriors trailed 10-6.

“I told him to get a little closer and he’d get an interception,” Erwin assistant coach Eddie Taylor said. “One play led to another.”

Silver intercepted the attempted screen and sprinted 50 yards for a touchdown.

“I was playing too deep,” Silver said. “On that play, the ball was just there.”

The numbers on the clock didn’t change when the Warriors made their next game-changing play. The ensuing kickoff — into a stiff wind that kept the stadium flag pointed north for most of the night — bounced once then into the hands of Erwin senior Za Plummer.

“A spark went off,” Plummer said. “I saw the ball, grabbed it and my instinct was to run with it. Everything changed in or two plays.”

Actually, four plays later, the Warrior took the lead when Bryan Anuel hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Damien Ferguson.

“Football is such an emotional game,” Erwin coach Mike Sexton said. “Everything can change so fast.”

The Warriors’ defense followed by forcing a three-and-out. Then Poore took a simple toss on fourth-and-one and started to his left. The junior planted his left foot and sped for a 54-yard touchdown and a 26-10 lead with 6:04 to go in the third quarter.

It provided the Warriors (5-4, 3-1) with a two-possession lead and almost made them forget about all of the penalties and all of the mistake they made up to that point. They finished the evening with 19 penalties for 136 yards — not counting offsetting penalties or those Roberson declined.

With the win, Erwin remains a second-place team in the Mountain Athletic Conference. Shrine Bowl lineman Dayquan Watkins left the game for Roberson with a knee injury.

“It was hard to get in a rhythm,” Taylor said. “I kept thinking that all we needed was a first down and we’d ice the thing away. Then something would happen. It wasn’t pretty.

“But we got a spark when we needed one.”

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