Asheville High coach David Burdette was amused when he saw Reynolds break out some of his football team’s old trickery – the Rockets ran not one, but two hook and lateral plays last Friday.
The amusement quickly wore off when the Rockets and Nathan St. Onge (648 passing yards, 497 rushing yards and 12 combined touchdowns) rallied from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Erwin in overtime, 49-48.
“I wasn’t shocked when they did that,” Burdette said of the comeback.
“What makes it impressive is they did it against Erwin, still I wouldn’t expect anything less. You hope maybe they have a hangover from a game like that, but we expect everything they’ve got.”
Asheville (2-3, 0-0) is home for this week’s latest installment in what many consider the best rivalry in Buncombe County football. Kickoff between the Cougars and Rockets (4-2, 1-0) is at 7 p.m.
Reynolds has won 11 consecutive Mountain Athletic Conference games dating back to 2014. The MAC officially recognizes a 3-A and 4-A champion in every team sport, and last year was the first time in 11 years that Asheville didn’t win a conference title.
“Asheville, Erwin and Reynolds have been the top dogs these last six or seven years,” Burdette.
“You always know those games are going to be a little special. You’re going to get the best game out of those teams when you play. And we’re going to give them our best game. It’s been that way since I got here (as an assistant coach) in 1995. It doesn’t matter if both teams are really strong or one side is down. Whether it’s our JV or varsity guys, I tell them all the time that you’re only guaranteed four of these (games against Reynolds).”
How consistent have the Cougars been in recent years?
Last week’s 34-12 win over Winston-Salem Carver snapped the first three-game losing streak during a regular season for Asheville since 1987.
Devon Davidson (912 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions) looks like he is about to become a 1,000-yard passer for the second straight year with the help of Makaius Brewer (31 receptions for 359 yards and two touchdowns), Dana Campbell (17 receptions for 188 yards) and DeAndre Gaskin (12 receptions for 135 yards).
Ahmad Shivers (379 yards, six touchdowns) is grinding out 4.3 yards per carry.
And the defense has been guided by Taquandre Bates (10.6 tackles a game), Micah Robertson (8.4), Taevon Edgerton (7.0), Andrew Leota (7.0) and Kaejan Griffin (7.0).
Leota is a junior defensive lineman who has scholarship offers from Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Asheville has won five of its last seven meetings with Reynolds and leads the overall series, 20-15.