Mountaineers snap Swain’s home streakTuscola beats Maroon Devils on their home field
BRYSON CITY — The Swain County varsity football team dominated Tuscola in the most important statistics except one in Friday night’s non-conference game.
The Maroon Devils rushed for 243 yards compared to the Mountaineers 74. They out-passed Tuscola, 116-111 and they finished with a 359 to 185 advantage in total offensive yards.
However, it was Tuscola that held the most important stat in the game — points scored.
After Ray Smith gave Swain County a 34-28 lead with 4:43 left in the fourth quarter, Tuscola junior Bryce Meyer took the ensuing kickoff for an 84-yard touchdown 19 seconds later and Logan Lambert was true on the PAT to give the Mountaineers a exciting 35-34 victory at Memorial Stadium/Dietz Field.
Another impressive note to the victory was Tuscola, which improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 for playoff purposes, and snapped Swain County’s 21-game home win streak.
The last time the Maroon Devils lost on their home field was to Smoky Mountain Conference rival Robbinsville on Sept. 24, 2010.
The Mountaineers also improved to 3-0 all-time in the series meeting with Swain County.
The Maroon Devils took an 8-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first quarter when Spencer McCoy scored on a two-yard run and Jordan Cody ran in the two-point conversion.
it took less than six minutes for the Mountaineers to answer, but answer they did, when senior quarterback Woody Cornwell threw a 24-yard TD pass to Adam Chambers with 1:41 left in the opening quarter.
But the conversion failed and Swain County held on to the lead, 8-6.
McCoy capped the Maroon Devils’ ensuing possession with a five-yard touchdown run (9:17) to give Swain County a 14-6 lead after their conversion failed.
The final five minutes of the first half gave the packed Memorial Stadium crowd an indication of what was to come in the second half.
First, Tuscola tied the game at 14 with 5:02 left in the second quarter when junior running back Houston McCracken scored on a rush from the one yard line and Cornwell’s conversion pass was good.
Then the Mountaineers went ahead 21-14 when Cornwell threw an eight-yard scoring strike to Chambers with 23 seconds on the clock and Lambert was perfect on the PAT.
Swain County scored on a 25-yard pass from Cody to Smith with one second left to slice the Mountaineers’ lead to a point, 21-20.
But the Tuscola defense denied the conversion run to secure the halftime lead.
McCracken gave Tuscola a 28-20 lead with 4:35 left in the third quarter when he scored on a two-yard run. Lambert added the PAT.
But as the quarter expired, the Maroon Devils tied it at 28 when McCoy scored on a 13-yard run and their pass was successful on the conversion.
From that point, it was turned over to both defenses. Until the most exciting 19 seconds in the game — thanks to Myers.
The Maroon Devils held Tuscola’s top two rushers in check as Ben Greene had 11 yards on six carries and Myers gained just 10 yards on eight carries.
Cornwell, who finished 12-of-16 for 111 yards, rushed for 38 rushing yards. McCracken contributed 17 yards on seven carries.
Chambers caught four passes for 42 yards and Greene hauled in three passes for 30 yards to lead the Mountaineers.
The WNC Athletic Conference slate starts next Friday, Sept. 27, and the Mountaineers will kick it off by hosting the Smoky Mountain (2-2) Mustangs at C.E. Weatherby Stadium.