Beyond the Scoreboard: Week 9 game to watch

Photo credit: Eierschneider / CC BY 2.0

With just four weeks left in the regular season, WNC football teams are involved in jockeying for playoff berths and competing for regular-season conference championships.

A trio of games to watch this week include:

Asheville (5-3, 5-0) at Reynolds (6-1, 4-0), 7 pm

First place in the Western Mountain Athletic 3-A Conference – and very likely the league title – is on the line when these Buncombe County rivals square off for the 37th time.

Both teams have won five straight, the Cougars after a 0-3 start in non-conference play and the Rockets after a Week 2 loss to powerful Shelby.

These two teams bookend the WLOS WNC Football Top 10 Poll – No. 1 Reynolds and No. 10 Asheville.

In a very talented group of players, Rockets’ junior Alex Flinn has been WNC’s best quarterback, throwing for 1,692 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing an amazing 77 percent of his passes.

Asheville sophomore Three Hillier (1,580 yards, 11 scores) appears to be getting better each week.

Both teams can bust big plays and have stout defenses.

Asheville leads the all-time series 20-16, Reynolds has won the last games.

Brevard (6-1, 1-0) at Franklin (7-0, 1-0), 7:30

The Panthers are among four local teams that remain undefeated (along with Mountain Heritage, Cherokee and Christ School).

Brevard, continuing an impressive turnaround under coach Craig Pritchett, has won six straight and posted a 16-4 mark over the past two seasons.

After missing the first two games, Panthers’ tailback Brock Kloeppel is rounding back into game shape (412 yards on the ground) after rushing for 2,000 yards last season.

He’s part of a talented backfield that includes Grant Stiles (715 yards, 13 TDs) and A.J. Carpenter (356 yards, 6 scores). Carpenter (54 tackles) also ranks second on the team in hits, behind Carrington Houston (70).

Brevard is getting a lot of production from junior quarterback Mitchell Johnson (1,209 yards, 15 TDs), tailback Estevian Benjamin (441 yards, 6 TDs) and receiver Luke Ellenberger (377 yards, 5 scores).

Defensively, Ethan Shook (97) and Kyle Williams (94) rank among WNC’s top tacklers.

In a Mountain Six 2-A Conference that includes just five league games, every victory is important, and the winner of this one stays atop the standings.

Christ School (6-0) at Charlotte Latin (5-2), 7 pm

The Greenies has been one of WNC’s best programs over the past seven seasons, posting a 61-15 record since coach Mark Moroz took over in 2011.

Now Christ School is in the midst of trying to break through and win a NCISAA Division II state title for the first time.

One Shuler has dropped (quarterback Navy Shuler is out for the year with an elbow injury) but his cousin West Shuler (462 yards passing, six scores) has done a great job under center.

Tailback Sidney Gibbs (1,222 yards rushing, 9 TDs) is on pace to rush for 2,000 yards if the Greenies – as expected – make a deep playoff run.

Charlotte Latin has shown a lot of offense in its five wins, averaging 43 points a game in its victories.

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