What a great way to open the Western Mountain Athletic Conference season, a match-up between teams ranked second and fourth in the latest WNC/WLOS.com Top 10 Poll.
The winner of Reynolds at Erwin will likely determine a regular-season champion come November and highlights the Week 4 games involving the Top 10 teams.
No. 1 Pisgah (3-0) at R-S Central (1-2)
The Bears continue to play great defense and produce just enough offense to win. The defense has allowed one touchdown in each of its three wins against Murphy, Enka and Tuscola.
R-S Central picked up its first win last week, a 13-12 defeat of Polk County, after struggling offensively in losses to McDowell and Patton.
Pick: Pisgah by 10.
No. 2 Reynolds (2-1) at No. 4 Erwin (2-0)
Based on the early play in a league in which the nine teams are a combined 10-15, these are the two best teams in the Western Mountain Athletic Conference, and the winner will be considered the favorite to take the regular-season title.
The Rockets have won 34 straight against WNC opponents and 26 in a row against conference teams, but Erwin has enough offensive firepower to end those streaks.
Pick: Erwin by 1.
North Georgia (0-2) at No. 3 Murphy (2-1)
The Bulldogs are using a deep backfield to bulldoze defenses, rushing for more than 600 yards in their last two games.
Coach David Gentry should get win No. 396 against a North Georgia team that opened the season with a 54-8 loss to Robbinsville.
Pick: Murphy by 30.
No. 5 Hendersonville (3-0) at Owen (1-1)
The Bearcats are WNC’s highest-scoring offense, piling up 133 points in wins against North Henderson, West Henderson and Asheville High.
With talented wideouts Kalin Ensley and Nasir Artis and battering ram tailback Ty’rese Hunt, Hendersonville makes it tough to key on any one facet.
Owen showed some promise in a 34=7 rout of Enka but came back to Earth with a lopsided 48-9 loss to Reynolds last week.
Pick: Hendersonville by 19.
Robbinsville (2-0) at No. 6 Christ School (2-1)
The Black Knights get a stern test after rolling past North Georgia and Enka the first two weeks.
The Greenies bounced back from blowing a 21-point lead in a loss to handle Cannon School 34-7.
Christ School went to Big Oak Stadium last week and surprised Robbinsville 34-7.
Pick: Christ School by 4.
No. 7 Franklin (2-1) at Swain (1-2)
The Panthers have won five straight and 10 of the last 11 seasons in this long-standing series. Swain holds the all-time lead 35-23-1.
After opening the season with a win against No. 10 Asheville and a loss to No. 3 Murphy, Franklin put up a lot of offense in a 42-24 win over Rabun Gap (Ga.).
After struggling in losses to Tuscola and Smoky Mountain, the Maroon Devils rushed for 267 yards to key a 47-14 win over North Henderson.
Pick: Franklin by 16.
Rosman (0-3) at No. 8 Mountain Heritage (1-1)
Playing behind a solid line, Mountain Heritage quarterback Callin Randolph (188 yards passing, 2 touchdowns) and Jake Autrey (261 yards rushing, one TD) have been the offensive stars.
The Tigers have been unable to keep opponents off the scoreboard, allowing 40 or more points each week in losses to East Henderson, Brevard and Madison.
Pick: Mountain Heritage by 22.
No. 9 Smoky Mountain, idle
The Mustangs are off to a great start under new coach Rickey Brindley, outscoring Andrews, Swain and North Buncombe a combined 123-30.
After a week off, Smoky Mountain hosts Cherokee on Sept. 14.
No. 10 Asheville (1-2) at Roberson (0-3)
The Western Athletic Conference opener for a pair of teams that have shown little ability to stop opposing offenses.
The Cougars have scored 86 points in three games and may be WNC's most potent passing attack, but the defense has allowed 86 points.
The Rams played three out-of-area teams in their non-conference schedule and it was ugly. Watauga, Kings Mountain and Crest outscored Roberson a combined 133-12.
Pick: Asheville by 9.
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