Asheville – Four football stars from three Buncombe County public high schools are playing for the East team in the prestigious East-West all-star game next week in Greensboro.
Two of the four are T.C. Roberson recent graduates — quarterback Brody Whitson and his favorite target, Rodney McDay. Erwin receiver Johnny Peay and A.C. Reynolds leading tackler Marc Golden are the other two locals on the West squad. All four players are standouts in the area’s premier league, the Western Mountain Athletic Conference (WMAC).
The contest is Wednesday, July 21 at 8 p.m. in Jamieson Stadium in Greensboro.
Roberson and Reynolds both were 7-2 and won a playoff game. The Rockets were 6-0 in the WMAC to stay undefeated in the league for the sixth consecutive season — and last time in a huge nine-conference league. The WMAC contracts back to seven teams starting this fall. TCR Rams were second at 5-1 while Peay’s Erwin was fourth at 3-3.
Four other West all-stars are from WNC. Two are linemen — Mountain Heritage’s Grady Brooks and Gavin Awtrey of Franklin. The others are R-S Central linebacker Jayden Hooper and Chase’s Kaden Hampton who is tagged as a versatile “athlete.” The all-star game is between seniors from 2020-21 who are new grads. The game historically produces many D1 standouts.
Hoops, Soccer All-Stars
East-West all-star games in Greensboro are in basketball on Monday, July 19 and in soccer on Tuesday. In both sports, the girls’ game starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by boys at about 8:30 p.m.
Basketball star Emily Carver (22 ppg., 7 reb.) of league champ Enka (15-2; 13-1 WMAC) plays for West girls. North Buncombe’s 6-foot-5 power forward Caleb Lominac (16 ppg., 11.4 reb., 2.3 blocks) is the sole local on the West boys’ roster. His Hawks tied ACR at 10-4 in the WMAC — a game behind champ Roberson.
Soccer locals chosen as all-stars are Reynolds’ Asa Blake (25 goals, 15 assists) for West boys and the following females: Vanderbilt-bound Addison “Addie” Porter (26G) of Reynolds, Roberson’s Madison Luckett (21G), and Asheville’s Emma Smith (19A, 12G) and Anna Hamner (5G).
ACR and AHS were atop the WMAC in girls’ soccer at 12-2 with TCR next at 11-2. Lady Rockets reached the state semifinals with three playoff triumphs.
Dual-threat Wonder Whitson
In football, Whitson was a sensational dual-threat quarterback. He averaged a whopping 360 total yards. He passed for 2,434 yards and ran for 806 yards to total 3,240 yards from scrimmage in the abbreviated spring 2021 season. His quarterback rating was a stout 117. The lefty completed 62 percent of passes in the spread attack.
Whitson threw 32 touchdown passes and merely four interceptions. He averaged 270 yards and 3.6 aerial TDs per contest. He threw five TD passes in a third of games — three times including the playoff defeat. He passed for more than 360 yards against Reynolds and 4A power Watauga.
Whitson rushed for over 130 yards in three consecutive games. He ran for 15 touchdowns. He averaged six yards per carry. He was the punter and averaged 35 yards per boot.
McDay, Peay, Golden
Half of Whitson’s passing touchdowns — 16 of the 32 scores — went to McDay. McDay averaged 103 receiving yards per game and 13.4 per catch. He caught 69 passes for 924 yards in the abbreviated season of nine games including two playoff contests.
Erwin also had a tall and swift go-to receiver in Johnny Peay. Peay caught 45 passes — nine of them for TDs — for 806 yards to average 115 over Erwin’s seven games.
Reynolds’ Golden made 103 tackles (62 solo, 41 assisted) this year to average 13 per game including five tackles for losses. He was supremely consistent. He made 14 or 15 tackles in over half of games — five of eight contests. Golden made big plays. He recovered two fumbles. He had one sack. He compiled 435 tackles in four varsity seasons — 41, 107, 184 then 103.
Golden rushed for touchdowns on six of his 16 carries. Golden was golden in the wild 63-40 win over Roberson as he ran for two TDs. He averaged eight yards a pop in 2021.
WNC Awards, Lindsay
Whitson and Golden are up for WNC Sports Awards for 2020-21. Winners will be honored in the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club’s banquet Sunday, Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the Omni Grove Park Inn. Golden is among 17 scholar-athletes winning college scholarships.
His ACR teammate Carter Lindsay and TCR’s Whitson are finalists for the best male athlete in a major sport among larger WNC schools. They are nominated for both football and baseball.
Whitson played center field and pitched. The Rams (15-2) won the WMAC then two playoff games.
Lindsay hit .333. He stole 12 bases and averaged a steal per game for sixth-place ACR. The Rockets thrived in football with versatile Lindsay. He averaged two TDs and 123 total yards as a rusher, receiver and part-time passer. He ran for three scores and totaled 314 yards in beating Erwin 49-29.
The other two finalists for best major sport male are Blake and Hendersonville’s Dwight Canady in basketball. Blake scored 25 times for Reynolds (12-3-2; 10-2-2 WMAC). He scored five goals twice and four goals once early. Reynolds finished behind TCR and North Henderson in the WMAC but won two playoff matches.
Rising senior Canady helped lead HHS (16-1) to four playoff victories and into the 2A state title game — a high-scoring 113-98 defeat. Canady scored 31 points and snatched 11 rebounds. The shooting guard averaged 22.3 points and 6.5 rebounds.
Finalists for best female in a major sport are Carver, Porter, and volleyballers Mackenzie Lynch and Emerson Hoyle of Roberson and Malia Moore of West Henderson.