Even decked out in its new look, all-grey uniforms, Erwin gave the most colorful performance of the season in Western North Carolina football Friday night.
At least for one jaw-dropping half.
Austin Brown passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns as the Mountain Athletic Conference’s preseason favorite took a big step toward a potential championship with 62 first-half points in a 69-28 blowout of visiting Reynolds.
Jonathan Allen caught two of those touchdowns (15 and 16 yards) and returned a interception for a third score on the second play from scrimmage. Allen (116 yards) and Jordan Tigar (151) each had more than 100 receiving yards.
Kelman Simpson added 56 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown.
“It’s incredible. I didn’t know we could do something like that,” Allen said. “It’s a great win for us.”
Maybe it was adrenaline from a packed house at Kerr Stadium or the extra week of preparation. Whatever the case, Erwin came ready to play in its first game since Sept. 13.
The Warriors jumped out to an insurmountable 62-14 halftime lead, with 42 of those points coming in the second quarter.
Surprisingly, neither team scored in the third quarter, and that was the point where the Warriors (5-0, 1-0) began pulling most of their starters. Colby Maltry ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 5 minutes, 35 seconds remaining to finish off the rout.
Allen set the tone, stepping in front of the first pass attempt from Reynolds quarterback Levi Ledford, and bringing it back 42 yards for a touchdown just 50 seconds into the game.
Tigar also hauled in a 77-yard bomb from Brown for a touchdown, and Tyler Sullins snared a 8-yard touchdown reception, while fullback DeAngelo Collington rumbled for a 2-yard score with 7:19 remaining in the first quarter.
Reynolds came up empty on its first four possessions, a dry spell that included a turnover on downs at the Erwin 19-yard line. The Rockets finally got something going, with Ledford tossing first-half touchdowns to Khiry Lytle (28 yards) and Stone Fentzlaff (14). Reynolds got a pair of touchdowns in the final four minutes from Rico Dowdle (2-yard run) and Devanie Cunningham (fumble recovery).
Ledford passed for 202 yards.
The Warriors went into the game as the top team in the Citizen-Times Best of the West rankings, while the Rockets (3-3, 0-1) were No. 2. They were also picked in that order in the MAC coaches preseason poll.
“I knew we were capable of getting ahead and winning this game, but no one sees anything like tonight coming,” Erwin coach Mike Sexton.
“I think a lot of people were sitting back and saying you might be a good team, but lets see this game. And that’s a testament to Reynolds. My hat’s off to Reynolds, they fought the whole time. Things just went our way.”
Kerr holds about 3,500 football fans and was full well before kickoff. Dozens of Erwin fans put down blankets and cushions either Thursday evening or during the day Friday to reserve their seats. The winner of Friday’s 50-50 raffle took home $1,300.
Reynolds returns home next week to host Asheville High (3-2, 0-0), while Erwin makes the short trip to neighborhood rival Enka.