Rams wear down MountaineersAllen throws for 212 yards (career-best) in 34-21 loss to Roberson
SKYLAND — In the past two weekends, the Tuscola varsity football team has played the smallest football playing school in Western North Carolina (Cherokee), and the largest (T.C.Roberson).
Though Tuscola stayed with the Class 4-A Rams for a majority of Friday night’s non-conference game, T.C. Roberson eventually took full advantage of their superior depth and wore down and beat the scrappy Mountaineers, 34-21.
Despite a varsity career best 212 yards passing by senior quarterback Parker Allen, Tuscola falls to 1-1 overall. The Mountaineers will travel to play the Cavaliers of East Rutherford High School next Friday, Sept. 5. T.C. Roberson improved to 2-0.
“They wore us down,” said Tuscola head coach Tommy Pursley. “Because we’re not very big, we had to do a bunch of chasing their speedy backs. But I thought our kids played their heart out, and I am tremendously proud of them. We scored right there at the end, which showed they did not quit. They were scrapping and fighting to the very end and that is all you can ask of them.
“Just to give it every thing you got. I think they had a little trouble with our offense. We missed a score down because we fumbled the ball on the two-yard line near the end of the first half and that hurt. But they are an excellent team, I mean what don’t they have? They got size, they got speed, they got numbers, they can throw it they can run it, That’s a good looking team and I have known Chris Dill for a long time and he does a great job with them. For our kids to hang in there and lose by only 13 to a team like Roberson I think is tremendous.”
TCR took a 7-0 lead with 7:38 left in the first quarter on a Kam Gilliland two-yard run.
The Mountaineers responded and tied the game at seven less than five minutes later in the opening quarter (2:57) when Allen snuck over from the one. Logan King was successful on the PAT.
Midway through the second quarter, Gilliland rushed in from the three as the Rams’ defense held Tuscola out of the end zone for the final 6:37 as Roberson took a 13-7 lead into halftime.
The Rams scored 15 points in the third quarter, thanks to a Desmond Moorman (8:26) Chris Barnwell one yard run (Chris Barnwell two-point conversion) and a Barnwell 36-yard TD pass to Grant Gossett (3:36) to take a 28-7 lead.
It took Tuscola midway through the fourth quarter to strike for more points as Allen connected with senior Nathan Messer for a 26-yard touchdown pass and King’s PAT slice the deficit to 28-14.
Roberson answered with a Barnwell 19-yard TD run (4:55) before the Mountaineers final score, a 56-yard scoring strike from Allen to Cody Wood, with 3:10 left in the game.
TCR finished with 478 yards (399 rush, 79 pass) in total offense, while Tuscola amassed 369 (157 rush, 212 pass).
Senior Houston McCracken led the Mountaineers on the ground with 84 yards on 15 carries, while Messer rushed for 50 yards on a dozen attempts. Caleb Ferguson had 12 yards on three carries and Wood contributed 15 yards on five rushing attempts.
Allen’s 212 passing yards came on just seven completions (12 attempts). Damon McDaniels hauled in two passes for 78 yards, McCracken had one reception for 45 yards, while Messer caught two for 46 yards (TD) and Wood had one reception for 58 yards (TD).
Tuscola 14, Roberson 6
After opening the JV football season with a 40-22 loss at A.C. Reynolds a week ago, Tuscola’s junior Mountaineers rebounded to defeat the visiting Roberson Rams, 14-6, in a non conference game at C.E. Weatherby Stadium Thursday night.
Tuscola (1-1) scored all the points it would need in the second quarter, dominanting TCR and held a 14-0 halftime lead.
Roman Jenkins led the Mountaineers’ rushing attack with 124 yards on 13 attempts, rushed for two (4, 56) touchdowns and a two-point conversion. He gained 106 yards on the ground in the first two quarters.
In the second half the Rams made adjustments and all but shut down the Mountaineers offense, but Tuscola’s defense prevented Roberson from turning the tide.
The Rams’ only touchdown came on a 34-yard pass from Satchel Benjamin to Jeremy Jacobs late in the third quarter to shrink Tuscola’s lead to 14-6.
In that second half, however, Tuscola did not gain a first down, after ringing up seven in the first half.
Tuscola gained 195 yards on the ground. Besides Jenkins’ 124, Dylan Reece rushed nine times for 23 yards, quarterback Grayson Perkins had 18 yards on six carries, Josh Allison picked seven yards on four carries and Brent Turner had 23 yards on five rushing attempts.
Perkins completed 1-of-5 for eight yards.
Next on the docket for the junior Mountaineers will be a home game against East Rutherford Thursday night (7 p.m.) at Weatherby Stadium.