ASHEVILLE — Nineteen penalties, four turnovers and soggy weather made for a less than ideal night of football Friday at Kerr Stadium.
Reynolds will take the win, blemishes and all.
Rico Dowdle cramped up late, but not before rushing 31 times for 273 yards and three touchdowns as the visiting Rockets almost doubled up Erwin, 35-18.
Dowdle (1,081 yards) went over the 1,000-yard mark in the process and has now figured into 26 touchdowns in six games.
Reynolds (5-1, 1-0) also got 119 rushing yards and a touchdown from fellow senior A.J. Logan. Backup quarterback Nathan St. Onge’s 11-yard touchdown run came at the 4:44 mark of the third quarter and helped give the Rockets a 28-18 lead at the time.
Leading tackler Aundreas Hill and the rest of the defense allowed the Rockets to outgain the Warriors, 506-243, in total yardage.
“It wasn’t pretty at times tonight, but we told the kids at halftime that good teams find ways to score and make stops on defense,” Reynolds coach Shane Laws said.
“We were able to do that. Our defense was lights-out against an Erwin team that knows how to move the ball. They really bowed their necks. We’ve still got to cut out some mistakes, but I really believe we’re becoming a good team.”
The Rockets never trailed Friday despite being penalized for 182 yards and allowing 18 unanswered points to Erwin (2-4, 0-1) in a rally that spanned the second and third quarters. Dowdle’s touchdown runs covered 1, 4 and 5 yards.
Cameron Roberts made three catches and accounted for 43 of Dowdle’s 82 passing yards.
“It’s a big win for us, a step up against a good team,” Dowdle said.
“Erwin is going to have a good season and we know they’ve played a lot of big competition. Our defense was great tonight. That’s probably the best they’ve played all year. Everyone on the team fought hard.”
Warriors junior Damien Ferguson completed 18 of his 27 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Isaiah Poore was the recipient of that touchdown pass — a 16-yarder with only five seconds to go in the second quarter.
Keylen Johnson recovered a fumble in the end zone just 15 seconds into the third quarter and Chase Austin ran for a 3-yard touchdown just over three minutes later. Austin finished with five receptions for 130 yards.
Erwin turned the ball over on downs at the Reynolds’ 21-yard line early in the fourth quarter after a touchdown twice negated by penalties on that same drive. The Warriors were trailing by 10 points at the time.
Rayonte Mills recovered a fumble and snared an interception for the Erwin defense.
As for Reynolds, Noah Eberhart and Austin McCurry made interceptions, with the latter setting up the Rockets’ first touchdown. Hill ripped the ball away from an Erwin receiver for a fumble recovery.
“We’re better than we showed tonight, but a lot of that has to do with Reynolds,” Warriors coach Mike Sexton said.
“Our kids played hard. It just wan’t our night. Reynolds made more plays than we did.”
The Warriors travel to Enka next week, while Reynolds is at home to face Asheville High (5-0).