Coming off a disappointing loss to T.C. Roberson in its home finale, Tuscola football will look to lay it all on the line as it closes out the regular season at Erwin on Friday night.
While the loss to the Rams damaged the Mountaineers’ chances of finishing in the top three of the WMAC, Tuscola still has a chance to get into the playoffs, especially facing an Erwin team with an identical 4-3 conference record.
With the first tiebreaker in the conference standings being head-to-head results, a win by Tuscola and loss by West Henderson (who the Mountaineers beat two weeks ago) against Asheville would create a three-way tie for second place.
“We were obviously disappointed, but we still have a great opportunity this coming Friday,” said Tuscola head coach J.T. Postell.
Closing with a big road game could be a boon for the Mounties. Both of Tuscola’s biggest wins of the season have come on the road in the form of its first win at Asheville in over two decades and a victory over previously 8-0 West Henderson.
“We’ve performed well on the road at times this season and will have to put forth a great effort this coming Friday night,” Postell said.
Putting forth the effort needed on the road will start with the team’s senior leadership. While the Mountaineers’ seniors couldn’t come up with a victory on senior night in their final home game, they’ll want to finish strong in their last regular season game overall, and spoil Erwin’s senior night the same way T.C. did theirs.
“The seniors have done a great job for us and I know they will continue to do so,” Postell said.
Unfortunately for Tuscola, that senior leadership will not include linebacker Drew Gilland, the hero of the West Henderson win, who will miss the contest with an injury.
“That’s a tough loss for us obviously, but I hate it for him because he is a senior and has done an outstanding job for us all year,” Postell said.
As the Mountaineers head into their final game of the regular season looking to make a statement in hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, the team will look to lay everything on the line.
Postell said he wants to see his team play with “great effort and intensity ,and leave it all on the field.”
That will be crucial against an Erwin team that comes in tied with Tuscola for fourth in the conference looking to make a similar statement in its final home game.
The Warriors topped North Henderson 44-7 last week with a dynamic passing attack, as while quarterback Jared Penland completed just 12 of 27 pass attempts, those 12 completions went for 315 yards and four touchdowns, and Tristian Brank led the way receiving with four catches for 163 yards and three scores.
The Erwin pass rush piled up seven sacks in the win over the Knights, led by Landon Taylor with three.
“Erwin is a very good football team and is well coached,” Postell said. “They have great team speed on both sides of the ball so it will be another tough challenge for us. We’ll have to bring our best in order to give ourselves a chance.”
The Mountaineers and Warriors will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.