Columbus – Hendersonville Bearcats poked Polk County 56-25 Friday to tune up for its showdown at home this Friday against the Mountain Foothills’ other premier team — Chase Trojans.
Asheville cruised 49-14 at Erwin in an early elimination game in the Mountain Athletic Conference race. AHS hosts reigning league champ A.C. Reynolds this Friday. ACR won 61-0 over Enka. T.C. Roberson also notched a shutout — 34-0 over North Buncombe.
Owen lost to Mitchell 55-27 in Western Highlands action. Owen TDs included on runs by Cameron Moore and Alex Sanchez’s keeper.
West Henderson Falcons beat East Henderson Eagles 41-7 in the Bird Bowl to secure their first win in this season. North Henderson fell 49-26 at Smoky Mountain (SMHS) in another Mountain Seven contest. This Friday West goes to SMHS. East is at Brevard. NHHS is at Tuscola.
HHS Routs Rival
Hendersonville and Polk typically have drag-out battles. This one in Columbus was a rout. The victory is “huge for us” to set up a clash with Chase with title implications, HHS head coach Jim Sosebee told his Bearcats in their victory huddle.
Freshman Hezzie Rudisill dashed for three scores including the first two TDs. He ran for 146 (8.6 ypc.) yards. Four of the six HHS rushing TDs covered at least 10 yards.
Gavin Gosnell passed for four touchdowns and 248 yards. He ran for two TDs and 76 yards. WNC’s leading passer teamed with Eric Rasheed for a 66-yard aerial score for a 28-0 lead in merely the second quarter. Lennard Benniefield’s 44-yard reception and run led to Gosnell’s ten-yard TD keeper.
LB Malachi Jacobs returned an interception to the Polk 20. The set up Gosnell’s TD pass to Malik Angram. HHS thus led 42-13 early in the third quarter. Dual threat Angram dashed in for the last Bearcat TD and a 56-19 lead in the final two minutes.
QB Gosnell noted Polk (3-2) was “dropping eight (of 11 defenders) back into coverage” —with many geared against short passes. So HHS went deep. “Our receivers got behind their safeties.”
Veteran Polk head coach Jim Ollis said “we gave up ‘home runs’ — many deep balls.’ He called Gosnell a poised, “heady” QB who improvises well. “He throws exceptionally well. And he’s sneaky fast as a runner. He made many great plays.” Coach Sosebee calls Gosnell a “special” QB and team leader.
Cooper King kicked a 33-yard field goal for HHS. King scored 15 soccer goals in the four latest matches – four goals each in three straight games.
The Bearcat defense also shined. HHS often put all 11 into the “box” — within five yards of the line to stymie Polk’s rushing. Ollis said “we just couldn’t move the ball at all.” Burly star fullback Angus Weaver did at times. He ran for two TDs and 218 yards — despite a broken left (ball carrying) hand. He had runs of 76 yards and a 74-yard TD.
‘Homies’ vs. ‘McCombies’
HHS (5-1) next plays its biggest game of the regular season. Chase from Forest City is 5-0. The 2A Trojans won 47-14 Friday at 4A McDowell. This seemed a repeat episode of the Marqies McCombs Show. The leading rusher in the entire state ran for five TDs and 358 yards Friday. He also ran for five scores in the opener at West, where he returned a kickoff for a TD.
The swift junior is listed third nationally with more than 1,300 rushing yards. He hides not inside a giant Trojan Horse a la ancient times, but rather behind Chase’s blubbery Monster Mash line led by 6-4, 385 Kadin Metz.
“They have athletes everywhere. They fly around,” Coach Sosebee said. But the Bearcats have even more athletic weapons. Look for them to win a shootout to eventually clinch the new league’s inaugural title.
Cougars in Full Gear
Asheville led Erwin 14-0. Erwin cut it to 14-7. Asheville’s Sayvon Heydon-Gibson, a transfer from ACR, returned a punt 60 yards for the next TD. AHS led 21-7 at halftime. Heydon-Gibson took a short Khalil Conley pass near midfield on a slant pattern. He took to the house for a 28-7 lead. He faces his former school next.
Reynolds’ Asher Cunningham had a long “pick six” versus Enka. Rocket Max Guest ran for the first TD. Roberson’s Kam White and Reno Jeter each ran for two TDs and 80 yards. Lex Dinwiddie hit Lorenzo Lyles on a 50-yard TD pass. TCR goes to Enka Friday. NBHS hosts McDowell. Erwin is off.
Bird Bowl Victors
West Henderson’s Andrew Schultz ran for the first four TDs Friday — including the first three scores. He burst up the gut for the first TD, then ran wide on a Wing T “buck” sweep for the next one. Schultz rushed for 113 yards (4.9 ypc.).
Lukas Kachilo shined his first full game of the season, after recovering from a shoulder injury. He passed for 226 yards — 139 on Truitt Manuel’s 15 receptions. Kachilo completed 63 percent of his passes to Manuel on Friday.
Two Falcons each caught a TD pass. Lawson Sullivan snatched a 27-yard throw into the end zone for a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. Cameron Banks caught a pass for the game’s final score.
East got on the board and into the highlight reel before halftime. Freshman Lex Burns uncorked a 79-yard TD bomb. He filled in for Joseph Justice, whom West knocked out of the game.
North Henderson led SMHS 13-7 five minutes into that game, after Hazahn Collington raced 53 yards for a TD. Knight QB Jaxson Willis passed for two TDs to Jaylen Croft and ran for a score. Isaiah McNeely rushed for five Mustang TDs.