Sun Valley sat back and waited for Reynolds to arrive Friday.
Surely, the Spartans were just as happy to see the Rockets go after a 65-14 whipping in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-AA football playoffs.
Levi Ledford passed for 164 yards and a touchdown. The most prolific quarterback in school history (5,181 career yards) completed all but one of his 11 attempts Friday, with fellow senior Chance Towery accounting for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Reynolds’ leading tackler, Andrew Swicegood (8.7 per game), also had a receiving touchdown.
Rushing-wise, A.J. Logan led the way with 79 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a halfback pass for a touchdown. Aquila Smith added 59 yards and a touchdown.
The No. 13 Rockets (8-4) led 35-7 at halftime of their most lopsided playoff win since 2002, showing no ill effects from the 145-mile bus ride to the campus of fourth-seeded Sun Valley (7-5).
“I’m really proud of our kids, and I’m proud of our coaches,” Reynolds coach Shane Laws said. “I don’t think Sun Valley got the team they were expecting in terms of effort and energy.”
The Rockets defense forced six turnovers and recovered four of the Spartans’ five fumbles. In contrast, Ledford and the Rockets offense had 394 yards and no turnovers.
Reynolds will hit the road again for next week’s second-round game at No. 5 Statesville (7-5).
Scott, Cougars D stellar again
Asheville High senior Ricky Scott tied a school record Friday as the Mountain Athletic Conference 3-A champions took out visiting Cuthbertson, 33-7, in a 3-AA playoff game.
But not just any record held by just anyone.
Crezdon Butler is in the midst of his fifth year in the NFL as a cornerback for San Diego. Butler made seven interceptions during the last state championship season for the Cougars (2005).
Scott’s seventh pick allowed the Asheville defense to hold an opponent to a single touchdown for the fourth time in five games.
Fellow seniors Bryson Bradley (158), Danquiries Green (133), Fred Lindsey (103) and Markevis Davis (101) all went into Friday with 100 or more tackles.
“Everyone gives maximum effort on this defense,” Davis said. “We want to get 11 men to the ball on every play. Our motto is ‘beat the man in front of you and play for the guy beside you.'”
Davis, who has committed to Charlotte, said second-seeded Asheville has a common goal — to practice on Thanksgiving. To make that happen, the Cougars (10-2) will have to get past No. 7 Weddington (10-2) next week at home.
Last year was the first time since 2006 that Asheville did not advance to at least the third round of the playoffs. The Cougars are No. 1 in the Citizen-Times Best of the West rankings for the first time this season.
“We’ve come together, and we’re united,” Green said. “A lot of people doubted this team over the summer. But the way we’re playing right now? Hopefully, we can make a deep (playoff) run.”
Warhorses post 1st shutout win
Friday was as good a time as any.
In what could prove to be the Western Highlands Conference team’s final home game, Owen recorded its first shutout win, 13-0, over Mount Pleasant in the first round of the NCHSAA 2-AA football playoffs.
Cade Fox (14.9 tackles a game), Tucker Lowery (8.4), Austin Bennett (7.2), Brandon Collins (6.3) and Quentin Carver (5.4) have been the leading tacklers this fall for the No. 7 Warhorses (9-2). Owen has won its most football games since 2006 and travels to second-seeded North Rowan (12-0) next week. North Rowan is the top-ranked team in The Associated Press 2-A poll.
Jager Gardner rushed for a team-high 102 yards and a touchdown Friday for Owen. The junior now has 2,486 yards this fall. The Warhorses’ single-season school record for rushing (Shawn Gibbs’ 2,555 yards) is 21 years old.