Reggie Pinner has surprised even himself this season.
The Roberson senior has thrown for an unofficial total of 1,841 yards in his first year as a full-time varsity starter. He even led all NCHSAA quarterbacks in passing yardage as recently as two weeks ago.
“Coming in, I wanted to have a season like this. But it’s my first year starting, so I didn’t know if it would be possible,” Pinner said. “I have a lot of teammates that make me look good. I know if I get the ball to our receivers, they’ll make a play.”
Pinner was averaging 288.3 yards a game and fell well below that average Friday. But he and the Rams still had more than enough offense to win at North Buncombe, 18-7.
Pinner threw for 111 yards and rushed for 52 more. He completed his 22nd touchdown of the season to Marcus Jenkins in the first quarter. Grant Hiriak hit a 39-yard field goal in the third quarter.
“We’re happy to be 2-0 (in the Mountain Athletic Conference). That’s the main thing,” Rams coach Jim Beatty said.
“Our defense did real well tonight against a much-improved North Buncombe team. I was really impressed with them. Offensively, we’ve got to play better. We had some opportunities tonight, but we couldn’t punch it in.”
Angelo Cogburn rushed for a team-high 70 yards, and Jenkins (58 yards) was the top receiver. Roberson turned the ball over twice inside the North Buncombe 5-yard line.
The Black Hawks (3-5, 1-2) have already won their most games since 2008 and did an effective job of controlling the clock even when they didn’t score Friday. Chase Parker passed for 67 yards and a touchdown, while Caleb Gwaltney rushed for 49 yards.
“I can’t say enough about this team,” North Buncombe coach Curtis Cagle said.
“These kids fought all night long. They never gave up and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Roberson (4-3, 2-0) took a 15-7 lead to halftime on a pair of touchdowns by Jenkins.
The senior caught a 7-yard pass from Pinner in the end zone at the 8:19 mark of the first quarter and had a 95-yard kickoff return less than four minutes later.
North Buncombe scored on its first possession, with Parker connecting with Trenton Bullman for a 24-yard touchdown pass.
But that was it for the Black Hawks — Josh Chandler’s 32-yard field goal was no good as time expired in the second quarter. Another one of the team’s kickers, Tommy Apostopoulos, was not dressed out Friday.
Bullman also had a fourth-quarter interception for North Buncombe and Gwaltney recovered a late fumble.
Zach Dollinger had a pick for the Roberson defense, which held the Black Hawks scoreless in the final three quarters.
Roberson is back at home next week to host Erwin, while North Buncombe is idle.