A trio of games to watch Friday night in Week 5 of Western North Carolina high-school football.
Asheville (1-3, 1-0) at Erwin (0-3, 0-1), 7 pm
It’s that time of the year for Asheville High. After getting off to their worst start in 30 years, the Cougars awoke last week, rallying for a 23-22 win over Roberson to open Western Mountain 3-A Conference play.
League wins is what Asheville does – the program is 110-18 in conference play the past 20 seasons.
Erwin has also been a consistently winning program in recent years, 37-18 in conference games since 2008.
Asheville and Erwin have finished among the top three in the same conference for each of the past nine years, with the Cougars winning the league six times and Erwin finishing second each of the past four seasons.
But both squads have some work to do to keep those streaks intact.
Inconsistent offense has been a problem for both schools, and each team is hoping a young, inexperienced quarterback – Three Hillier for Asheville, Riley Towles for Erwin - can help put more points on the board.
Look for the top tailbacks – Isiah Poore for the Warriors, the Cougars’ Corey Clement – to get lots of touches.
Smoky Mountain (2-1) at Cherokee (3-0), 7:30 pm
Look for footballs to fill the air in this battle of two of the area’s top quarterbacks.
Cherokee’s Tye Mintz is a two-way threat who is 98 yards away from reaching 7,000 career total yards of offense.
The multi-sport standout has accounted for 635 yards and nine touchdowns in three games this season.
The Mustangs’ Nate Coffey is 46-for-80 for 735 yards and seven scores in his three outings.
Both running games are in good order, with Montrell Turner (340 yards, 3 scores) leading the Mustangs and Isaiah Evans (438 yards, 6 TDs) pacing Cherokee.
The teams have one common opponent – the Braves handled North Buncombe 36-10, while Smoky Mountain had to rally in the final minute to edge the Black Hawks 27-22.
Tuscola (2-1, 1-0) at North Henderson (2-1, 0-0), 7 pm
The big-play Knights debut as members of the Western Mountain 3-A Conference after a solid start in non-conference play.
Bouncing back from a 51-point trouncing by Hendersonville on opening night, first-year coach Zach Wilkins put some kids in different places and the result has been close, high-scoring wins over East Henderson (44-41) and Swain (34-28).
Quintin Wright (409 yards rushing) and Darren Lammons (283 yards, 12 yards per carry) are breakaway threats.
Tuscola recovered from a 31-10 loss to Pisgah by trouncing Enka 55-0. The Mountaineers have rushed for 755 yards in three games, with 140-pound junior Bailee Ewart (281 yards, three scores) and quarterback Grayson Perkins (160 yards, 6 TDs) leading the way.