OOLTEWAH, Tenn. – Damien Ferguson chose his words carefully Friday night.
When he had any words at all – the Erwin quarterback was just as dumbstruck by the numbers as anyone.
Ferguson knew the yards were adding up, but the senior was trying to win a football game, not set a Western North Carolina record with 665 passing yards in a 69-55 loss at Ooltewah (Tenn.).
The NCHSAA record is 667.
“It’s just blowing my mind right now. Dang!” Ferguson exclaimed.
“To do it against a team like that with a lot of potential Division I players, you’ve got to have great protection. My line deserves so much credit for their blocking. And I put the ball up there, but the receivers are the ones who make the plays.”
Ferguson attempted 84 passes Friday night and completed 50 of them in a nonconference game that lasted more than three hours. C.J. Thompson caught four of the touchdowns (15, 25, 46 and 66 yards) to finish with 364 receiving yards. Trey Martin (6 yards) and Isaiah Poole (11) accounted for the other two touchdowns.
Ferguson (1,187 yards and 13 touchdowns with four interceptions) is a three-year starter and former two-time Citizen-Times All-WNC selection who now has 6,777 career yards. The area record (7,895 yards) belongs to 2010 Tuscola graduate Tyler Brosius.
The Warriors fell to 1-2 with Friday’s loss to Ooltewah, which is about 200 miles away in east Tennessee.
“Damien would be the first to tell you that winning is the most important thing, more important than any record,” Erwin coach Mike Sexton said.
“We gave ourselves a chance at the end against a really good team and that’s what we wanted. We dressed out 31 (players) and they dressed out 90. And just to see our kids fight the way they did was very encouraging.”
Erwin is back at home next week for a game against Science Hill (Tenn.) before closing out its nonconference schedule on Sept. 16 at Franklin.