• Mitchell High School junior quarterback Noah Pitman, left, hands off to senior running back Landon Miller Friday, Aug. 10, during a home scrimmage game against Enka. The Mountaineers begin regular-season play Friday, Aug. 17, with a home game against Erwin. BRANDON ROBERTS PHOTO/Mitchell News-Journal
    Mitchell High School junior quarterback Noah Pitman, left, hands off to senior running back Landon Miller Friday, Aug. 10, during a home scrimmage game against Enka. The Mountaineers begin regular-season play Friday, Aug. 17, with a home game against Erwin. BRANDON ROBERTS PHOTO/Mitchell News-Journal

Mountaineers open against tough Erwin team

LEDGER – Erwin High School’s football team will be looking to avenge this past year’s 21-14 Week 1 home loss to Mitchell when it invades Ledger this Friday for the 2018 regular-season opener.

In last year’s season opener, the Warriors trailed 21-0 at halftime and scored 14 unanswered points in the second half but ran out of time to complete a comeback.

For the Mountaineers, beating Erwin last year was all about the ground game. Noah Pitman and Ben Young both tallied rushing touchdowns to put Mitchell up 14-0 early and silence the home crowd. 

Young completed a short pass to Noah Pitman late in the first half to extend the lead to 21-0. 

The Mountaineers ran 68 plays compared to Erwin’s 40. Mitchell rushed for 245 yards and three players – Young, Landon Miller and Ben Robinson – finished with double-digit carries. 

Erwin’s early slump continued after losing to Mitchell. The team dropped its next three games – including a 51-13 loss at Mitchell’s rival Mountain Heritage. 

The Warriors responded positively, closing the regular season with six-straight wins. During that stretch, the team scored at least 30 points in every game and surpassed the 40-point mark five times. 

Erwin’s season ended with a 44-34 loss at A.L. Brown in the first round of the state playoffs. 

The Warriors return dual threat senior quarterback Kendrick Weaver, who entered the game in the second half in relief of Riley Towles in last year’s opener against Mitchell. Weaver energized the home team and nearly brought the Warriors all the way back. 

Weaver completed 59 percent of his passes as a junior and racked up 1,630 passing yards. He tossed 17 touchdown passes compared to just two interceptions. 

Weaver was also a force on the ground for Erwin, scrambling 72 times for 314 yards and eight touchdowns – good for second on the team. 

Erwin graduated Isaiah Poore, this past year’s leading rusher. Poore led the team in rushing yards (1,128), rushing touchdowns (16) and 100-yard games (three). 

Mitchell held Poore to 33 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in this past season’s meeting. 

Erwin will turn the starting running back spot over to junior Don Mosley, who was the team’s second-leading rusher in 2017. 

Mosley ran 98 times for 520 yards and eight scores as a sophomore. The stout 5-8, 180-pounder ran twice for 20 yards and a touchdown against Mitchell last year. 

Erwin’s defense had a rollercoaster season in 2017. The Warriors allowed 25.3 points per game but shutout Enka, held North Henderson to 10 points and limited North Buncombe to just nine points. 

During its six-game winning streak, Erwin surrendered just 13.3 points per game and didn’t allow more than 21 points in any of those contests. 

A.L. Brown cracked the Warriors defense in a major way, exploding for 44 points using a balanced attack that featured 197 passing yards and 234 rushing yards. 

Erwin is entering its second season under head coach Rodney Pruett. The Warriors have finished with a winning record every season since 2007. 

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Ledger. 

The MItchell News

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