Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips invoked the message of the “Three Little Pigs” fable when he talked about his team’s frustration at trying to get past a 1970s NFL dynasty, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We’ve knocked on the door, and we’ve beaten on the door,” Phillips said of the Oilers’ inability to beat the Steelers for the AFC championship.
“Now it’s time to kick that (SOB) down!”
Erwin High football can relate.
Under coach Mike Sexton, the Warriors are 46-24 since 2008 and are coming off the program’s first Mountain Athletic Conference title (in the 3-A division) since 2001.
But there are some gaps in the resume as Erwin tries to build toward consideration as a perennial power in Buncombe County.
Asheville and Reynolds, and to a lesser degree Roberson, are considered the MAC’s elite.
Erwin is 6-10 against those three over the past five seasons, but is gaining on them — the Warriors have beaten the Rams in three of their last five meetings, though Roberson won each of the past two seasons.
After losing 11 straight to Asheville, the Warriors beat the Cougars twice last season in consecutive weeks, to end the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs.
That leaves Reynolds (3-2), Friday night’s opponent at Erwin (4-0) in the MAC opener for both schools.
The Rockets are 38-11-1 all-time against the Warriors, who have beaten Reynolds just once (7-6 in 2011) in their last four meetings.
“Those football programs are where we are trying to get to,” said Sexton.
“To establish yourself in the conference, to get into the discussion where you are mentioned along with those programs, you have to beat those teams.”
“Reynolds is a big game for sure, but we have to approach this like it’s our first conference game, and that is what’s important,” said defensive lineman Dakota Wright.
Both teams run high-powered spread offenses — Erwin is averaging 50.7 points per game, and after being shut out by West Forsyth in their season opener, the Rockets are averaging more than 46 ppg over the past four starts.
“I don’t think this is going to be a 7-6 game,” said Sexton. “It’s going to be hard for us to hold them down, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to hold us down.”
“They have a lot of offensive weapons, but there’s no doubt we feel like we can play good defense against them,” said Wright.
“We definitely want to come out and (establish) that we’re going to be the team on top of the conference this season.”