There have been some prolific high school offensive teams in Western North Carolina over the past decade, teams that scored more than 50 points in nearly half their games, putting up video-game figures like 79 points in a single outing.
But few, if any, have set the pace like this year’s Erwin High squad that is on track to average more than 50 points a game, a figure rarely, if ever, accomplished in these parts, especially in a league as rugged as the Mountain Athletic Conference.
In building a 7-0 record (3-0 in the MAC), the Warriors’ multiple-weapon spread attack has scored 369 points, an average of 52.7 per game, while averaging 480 yards of offense per outing.
Erwin coach Mike Sexton admits that averaging 50 points per game in the regular season would be quite an achievement.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a goal, but I would say we would be very, very pleased with doing something like that,” he said. “That’s not something you could do very often, but this group is capable of that.”
Erwin has scored at least 42 points in each game and more than 50 four times, highlighted by a 69-point explosion against Reynolds.
The team has scored 54 touchdowns, 47 by the offense (24 running, 23 passing), the others coming via the defense and kick returns.
And most of that scoring has come in the first three quarters of blowouts — the Warriors’ average winning margin is 29 points per game. Sexton said his starters haven’t played in the fourth quarter in five of their seven games.
“It’s just ridiculous,” quarterback Austin Brown said with a laugh. “That we have scored so much, and can score so quickly, with the weapons we have, it’s just crazy.”
That kind of incredible production continues a recent trend for Sexton and offensive coordinator Bucky Tarr, the architects of an attack that has been blessed with speedy athletes and a talented quarterback like Brown who knows how to get his playmakers the ball.
Over the past two seasons, the Warriors have scored more than 40 points in 14 of 19 games and are 15-4 in that stretch. In those 15 victories, Erwin is averaging 50.3 points per game.
“What they do is so much different, so unique for mountain football,” said Mountain Heritage coach Joey Robinson, who lost to the Warriors, 55-13, earlier this season.
“They do so many hot reads and find good matchups for them, it’s just almost impossible to defend.
“If you take people out of the box, they can kill you with (Brown and tailback Kelman Simpson) running the ball. If you put people in the box, they kill you with receivers like (Jonathan Allen). Either way, you get killed.”
With the advent of spread offenses and a sizable disparity between really talented and not so talented schools, some recent teams have come close to averaging 50 points per game over a season, most notably Mountain Heritage in 2009.
The Cougars (13-1) scored more than 50 points in half of their 14 games en route to the 2-A state title game.
After scoring 51, 54 and 51 points in three of its first four postseason games, Mountain Heritage was averaging 51.3 points a game, but managing just a field goal in a 28-3 loss to Tarboro in the championship game dropped the average down to 48.1.
“The difference is we were a running team,” Robinson said. “We set a state record for rushing yards (6,289 yards), and Erwin is doing it more with passing.”
Owen High’s 2003 team scored more than 50 points six times during an 11-1 season and averaged 47.8 points a game during the regular season.
Several offenses were explosive last season but couldn’t reach the 50 points per game plateau.
Swain (15-1) scored 40 or more points in 11 games (six times more than 50 points) and averaged more than 45 points a game.
Murphy (13-3) went over the half-century mark seven times last season and was averaging 48.3 points a game until the 2012 regular-season finale against Swain, when a 21-7 loss caused its average to plunge.
Hendersonville (12-2) scored 79, 70, 61 and 56 points in single games and averaged nearly 43 points per game.
Playing a 10-game regular season, Erwin is very unlikely to catch the 1975 Maxton High team that set the state record for points in a 10-game season (614).
But if the Warriors average just a shade more than 43 points per game over their final three regular-season games (vs. Roberson, North Buncombe and Asheville), they will pass North Duplin (498) as the second-highest scoring team ever, according to figures from the N.C. High School Athletic Association record book.