Robbinsville takes the win in defensive game
The stands of Swain County Memorial Stadium looked to be covered with a rash of giant toadstools on Friday night as fans huddled under umbrellas to watch a sloppy game between the Swain County Maroon Devils and Robbinsville Black Knights.
The home fans left wet and disappointed, as Robbinsville escaped with an ugly 14-6 victory.
The first quarter marked the driest point of the evening, and both teams’ offenses capitalized. Robbinsville began the game with the ball and quickly marched down to the Swain County 20-yard line.
Then, Robbinsville senior quarterback Landon Orr took off on a spectacular 17-yard run that set the Black Knights up with first and goal from the Swain County three yard line. Orr weaved across the field through the entire Maroon Devils’ defense on the run, and though it was only 17 yards in the stat book, the actual distance travelled was closer to 50 yards.
From there, junior running back Rylee Anderson punched it in to give Robbinsville a 6-0 lead following a blocked extra point attempt.
Swain County answered with a lengthy possession of its own. The long drive was like watching someone cut down a tree with a pocketknife: two yards here, five yards there, followed up by a three-yard dive to move the chains.
The result was undeniable as quarterback Damian Lossiah finally ran it in from seven yards out to tie the game at 6-6. Swain County mirrored Robbinsville by having its own extra point attempt blocked.
With the exception of a few brave moths swirling in the glow of the proverbial Friday night lights, everyone in attendance began feeling the effects of the rain in the second quarter. The players in particular struggled, as the game ball was effectively reduced.
A punting battle broke out between the two teams, and the tied score of 6-6 held through halftime and through the third quarter. With the exception of an interception by Swain County’s Daniel Ammons, there were no bright spots for either team during the third quarter.
The interception marked the only offensive series by either team in the quarter that didn’t end in a punt.
The Black Knights finally broke through in the fourth quarter when Anderson notched his second touchdown of the night, this time from six yards out, to cap a hard-nosed Robbinsville drive. Robbinsville again missed on the extra point attempt, to keep the lead at 12-6.
With time running out and backed up on their own three yard line, Swain County took the field for its final offensive possession. Lossiah took the snap from under center and scrambled left. He was pursued closely by two Black Knights who were able to catch up to him. Lossiah tried to release the ball before he was dragged to the turn in his own end zone. He got the ball out just in time, but was called for intentional grounding. The result was of the penalty was a called safety: two points and the ball for Robbinsville. With a 14-6 lead in hand, Robbinsville drained the clock to seal the ugly victory.
“Our biggest problem with us right now is that we are too inconsistent,” observed Swain County Coach Neil Blankenship. “We’ll have a good play and then we’ll have a bad play, or we’ll have ten guys do something right and one person not, and it’s not the same person every time. We are just not a consistent football team right now, but we are fixing to start a new season with the postseason coming up.