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Beyond the Scoreboard: North Buncombe-Erwin highlight Week 6 games for Top 10 teams

Tanner Wike
Tanner Wike will lead Pisgah into Polk County for non-conference play Friday night. (Photo credit: Wike)

A pair of games involving teams in the WNC/ Top 10 poll highlight the Week 6 schedule for mountain high-school football.

In Western Mountain Athletic Conference play, No. 10 North Buncombe (4-1, 2-0) travels to No. 5 Erwin (3-1, 1-1).

The Black Hawks are tied for first in league play with Tuscola (3-1, 2-0) and No. 1 Reynolds (4-1, 2-0). The Rockets play at North Henderson (0-4, 0-1), looking to stretch WNC’s two longest winning streaks – victories against WNC opponents (36 straight) and wins against conference opponents (26 in a row).

The Knights are among a trio of remaining winless teams in WNC play, all of whom play in the WMAC. Enka and Roberson (each 0-5, 0-2) are the others still searching for their first win.

North Buncombe is pounding the ball on the ground behind an impressive line, averaging 268 yards per game rushing with Caden Higgins (649 yards, 11 TDs) and Skylar Jutras (554 yards, 8 scores) leading the way.

Erwin bounced back from a 30-point loss to Reynolds with a 32-27 win vs. Asheville High, but lost tailback Don Mosley for the season to a knee injury.

An interesting non-conference match-up will be played in Burnsville against former Western Highlands Conference foes Hendersonville and Mountain Heritage.

The eighth-ranked Cougars (3-1) will host No. 7 Hendersonville (4-1) in a battle of high-powered offenses.

Nobody runs the ball better than coach Joey Robinson’s offenses at Heritage. Over the past five seasons, the Cougars have averaged 326 yards rushing per game – an incredible run of success, or success at the run – and this year’s squad is on pace to put up similar numbers.

The Bearcats like to move the ball through the air, and junior quarterback Woodson Hunter (1,046 yards, 12 touchdowns) could become the third different Hendersonville thrower to surpass 3,000 yards in a season in the past five years.

Michael Schmidt and Alex Williford threw for more than 3,000 yards in each of the previous four seasons.

The Cougars beat the Bearcats twice last season, in the regular season and the playoffs.

No. 2 Pisgah (4-1) looks to get back to winning after a 41-7 rout at the hands of Tennessee power Greeneville last week. The Bears play at Polk County (1-3).

No. 3 Murphy (3-1) begins Smoky Mountain Conference play at Robbinsville (3-1). The two league powers, who have combined to win 20 state championships since 1969, both like to pound the ball on the ground.

The Black Knights are averaging 251 yards rushing, paced by tailback Rylee Anderson (509 yards, 11 TDs). Just four games into his junior season, Anderson has 2,674 career rushing yards.

Murphy, four wins away from giving veteran coach David Gentry 400 victories, is averaging 259 yards on the ground per game. Junior Devonte Murray (268 yards) is among three Bulldogs with more than 200 yards rushing.

No. 4 Christ School (3-1) has used an explosive offense led by quarterback Navy Shuler (1,358 yards passing, 17 touchdowns). The Greenies play at Southlake Christian Academy (3-2), a program that lost 34-12 last week to Asheville School.

No. 9 Smoky Mountain (4-0) is among just three WNC schools still unbeaten, along with a pair of Rutherford County programs – No. 6 East Rutherford (5-0) and Thomas Jefferson (4-0).

Under new coach Rickey Brindley, the Mustangs have outscored opponents 151-42 and have allowed just one opponent more than 12 points.

To stay undefeated, Smoky Mountain has to win at a tough place to play – Tuscola (3-1). The Mountaineers are getting a lot of production from tailback Bailee Ewart and quarterback Hunter Bryson.

No. 10 Mitchell (4-1) looks to continue its strong start at home vs. R-S Central (1-4). The Mountaineers are 29-4 in non-conference play since 2015, and three of those losses were in the playoffs to the eventual state 1A champions.

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