Sports

Jets to Take Off Behind Phillips

Dallas Phillips, a 1000-yard rusher, is Enka’s featured back.

Enka The Jets opened the most recent (2019) season by beating Rosman 16-0, in a non-conference game. But victory eluded them the rest of the way. They fell by a mere point, at 28-27 to North Henderson at home in the teams’ season finale. In ‘18, Enka shut out NHHS 14-0, to get into the WMAC win column.

The Jets were unbeaten in football in 2020. That is since football in 2020-21 was delayed from fall to now, due to pandemic-related athletic restrictions. In an abbreviated seven-game schedule, WMAC teams play mostly only within their conference in the regular season. Yet Rosman Tigers visit Enka on March 19. That is a tuneup for Enka’s WMAC clash at North Henderson, a week later.

Enka has the talent to build around, in Jeff Frady’s eighth season as the head coach.

Dallas Phillips (5-8, 175 jr.) dashed through defenses for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore in 2019, the last season. He has superb field vision and quickness, in the power spread offense. He shared carries last season. “This year, Dallas is our primary back. He’ll carry the load,” Coach Frady said. “His work ethic in practice impresses me. He’s a constant worker. Everything is 100 percent.”

The Jets roll the dice with a quarterback transferred in from Las Vegas — Dylan Wright (6-3, 200 sr.). The senior was a “dual-threat” starting for his prior school, Frady noted. “When he first came to us, he was more of a runner. We’ll get him out of the pocket” to run or pass, Frady said. “He’s come a long way as a thrower. His reads, mechanics and accuracy have gotten a lot better. He doesn’t have a cannon as an arm. But he’s an accurate thrower, and he throws well on the move.”

Coach Frady emphasized that “Dylan’s best attributes are his attitude, and work ethic. He takes command, leading by example. He’s an encourager. I’m super impressed with his leadership.”

Curtis Cagle is the offensive coordinator.

The H-back (TE-fullback) role is split between Xander Godfrey (6-0, 175 jr.) and Carson Turner (5-9, 175 sr.).

Head Coach: Jeff Frady
Head Coach: Jeff Frady

Three other receivers are usually deployed at a time. Screens go mostly to athletic slot receiver Jared Smith (5-9, 170 sr.), who quarterbacked Enka for much of 2019. Wide receivers are Mars Hill-bound Eli Hutchens (6-2, 175 sr.) and Preston Leslie (5-10, 180 sr.). Frady said. Hutchens is “our most vocal leader. He does it in an encouraging way. Our seniors holding others accountable. Senior receivers help teach others how to run routes.”

The mobile offensive line returns LG Reese Carter (5-10, 220 sr.). Joining him as likely starters are LT Noah Tinajero (5-10, 275 sr.), freshman center Josh Davis (5-9, 240 fr.), RG River Owens (5-9, 230 so.) and Landon Edwards (6-0, 240 so.). Frady said these blockers are strong for their size. “We had a good year in the weight room.”

Enka hopes to have a leg up on the competition with new kicker Ivan Mojica (5-9, 190 sr.). The soccer standout is new to football but has immense potential. “It sounds like a shotgun going off, when Ivan kicks it,” Frady said. “He’s capable of kicking a 60-yard field goal. We expect routine (kickoff) touchbacks.”

The base defense is 3-4 with multiple fronts and blitzing, under DC Barry Lance. Linebackers are ILBs Phillips and Turner, and OLBs Smith and Hutchens. The D-Line includes Cole Taylor (6-1, 210 jr.) and Cody Keever (6-0, 200 jr.). The secondary features CBs Riley Pugh (5-9, 160 so.) and Leslie, a safety rotation of Wright, Matt Rodgers (5-10, 160 so.) and Mack Shook (5-8, 165 so.)      

Learning was all remote for a while. In-school learning resumed in Buncombe public schools just last week. Spirits are up from camaraderie at football practices and with the season around the corner, Coach Frady said. “Our kids can get out of the house, and do something they love. They’re willing to do whatever it takes protocol-wise … I’m excited.”

Above all, Coach Frady is confident he will “create great teammates — people who’ll function well in society, and be successful in life.”

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