Reynolds senior River Naisang never gets rattled.
It’s one of the kicker’s most endearing qualities, according to his coach.
Naisang came again through for Shane Laws and the Rockets on Friday night. A 20-yard field goal off Naisang’s foot with 14 seconds to go helped deliver a 31-28 win over visiting West Forsyth at Dalton Stadium.
Fellow senior Rico Dowdle carried the ball 25 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He also passed for 134 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m not just proud of the win, but the way we won,” Laws said.
“We didn’t play very well on the defensive side of the ball at all. But we made defensive plays at the end. Offensively, we were able to score when we had to. Week 1 exposes a lot of your mistakes and they’re amplified against a team like West Forsyth. But I’m proud of these kids. They’re some really good kids and we’ll play better (in the future).”
West Forsyth (0-1) is the Central Piedmont Conference preseason favorite and the Winston-Salem area 4-A school had won four of its previous five games over the Rockets (1-0).
Dowdle is a former Citizen-Times All-WNC running back who has moved to quarterback for this season. His touchdown runs on Friday night covered, 3, 6 and 51 yards. Keyal Talbert caught the touchdown throw (65 yards) with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Naisang’s game-winner was his second in two years (he also decided a 2014 game at Belmont South Point). Along with football, Naisang has also scored four goals in three soccer games for the Rockets (3-0-0).
Friday was the first official football game on Dalton’s new $400,000 artificial turf field which was redone by Buncombe County Schools over the summer.
Reynolds travels to defending NCHSAA 2-A champion Shelby next week.