Robbinsville – Going into Fridays 3rd round of the NCHSAA football playoffs most wondered if Robbinsville and Swain could duplicate the masterpiece of the last game of the regular season. In the end the playoff game topped the regular season game. It was, what the rest of the state would never understand, a typical Smoky Mountain Conference football game. Both teams took the others best shots all night. Despite standing toe-to-toe all night it was the Black Knights who were left standing in the end by the score of 30-24. Regardless of the outcome it was apparent to all who were in attendance that they were watching two of the best 1A teams in the state.
The opening salvo set the tone for the entire night. Robbinsville took the opening kickoff and drove to the Maroon Devil one yard line. It was here that the Maroon Devil defense came up with a huge goal line stand. The Black Knights drive was 15 plays and ate up almost 8 minutes off the clock. Swain’s fourth down stop would give them possession on the one, but was closer to the one inch line than the one.
Swain put together the best drive of the night by either team on their possession. The Devils went 99 yards on 8 plays and just two plays into the second quarter found the endzone. Josh Collins hit Reese Winchester on a 37 yard pass play, Winchester avoided two defenders to find the endzone. Winchester ran in the two point conversion to make it 8-0 in favor of Swain.
Robbinsville answered back on their next drive. The Knight drove 53 yards on 8 plays, with Chase Calhoun plunging in from 2 yards out. Donovan Carpenter would run in the two point conversion to tie the game at 8 midway through the second quarter.
Later in the quarter, following a Swain punt, the Black Knights had their worse field position of the night taking over on their own 6 yard line. Robbinsville moved the ball to the 31 yard line where the Devils defense came up with yet another big play. Swain’s Nse Uffort snagged an attempted screen pass out of midair and dashed 30 yards for a Maroon Devil touchdown. Josh Collins ran the two point conversion in to give Swain the lead at 16-8 going into halftime.
Swain opened the second half by taking the kickoff up to near midfield. To open the second half the Maroon Devils went to an unbalanced line look. Using it they were able to drive down field. Facing 3rd and 8 from the Black Knight 33 yard line Josiah Glaspie broke free and raced 33 yards for a Maroon Devil touchdown. Collins made the two point conversion to give the Devils their largest lead of the night at 24-8.
Robbinsville once again answered. This time the Knights marched 48 yards on 11 plays down to the Swain 2 yard line. Cuttler Adams carried it in for the Knights score. Adams also scored the two point conversion to cut the Swain lead to 24-16.
The Black Knights took over on downs at the Maroon Devil 44 yards line. Robbinsville used a heavy dose of star running back Cuttler Adams and moved inside the Swain 5 yard line. The Swain defense was strong, holding Robbinsville out of the endzone. Facing fourth and goal from the 1 yard line, the Knights used fullback Chase Calhoun to bull his way into the endzone. Carpenter added the two point conversion to tie the game at 24 with just over 6 minutes remaining in the game.
Swain started their drive from their own 25 yard line. Facing fourth and five from their own 44 yard line the Devils Josh Collins was spotted inches shy of a first down. The spot gave Robbinsville the ball at midfield.
It looked every bit like the Devils defense would hold the Knights and force overtime. Robbinsville faced a fourth and three from the Swain 42 yard line. Cuttler Adams picked up the first down on a 5 yard run. Then, one play later, Adams broke free and sprinted 37 yards for the game winning touchdown. The two point conversion failed leaving the score 30-24.
The loss ends the Maroon Devils season, they finish with a record of 11-2.