Eagles, Falcons, Rockets Roll in Openers - TribPapers

Eagles, Falcons, Rockets Roll in Openers

East Eagle senior Isaac Burleson leaps to initiate a TD catch in the victory Friday. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

East Flat Rock – East Henderson, West Henderson and A.C. Reynolds each won decisively in home football openers Friday, while Asheville got vengeance for its opening defeat a season ago.

West destroyed East Rutherford 55-0. East Henderson shut out Rosman until it put its junior varsity in, and easily won 41-12. Only two public high school teams in Buncombe County won. Reynolds shut out West Forsyth 37-0. Asheville won 26-14 in holding off Robbinsville, which beat the Cougars last fall.

‘Where Eagles Dare’

East ran over the 1A Tigers, with the McCarson brothers carrying the ball. Star senior runner Marcus McCarson ran for three TDs (covering 10, two, and three yards) in the second and third quarters. His 56-yard TD scamper was called back due to a penalty. He rushed for 74 yards, averaging 7.4 per carry. Tall freshman Seth McCarson excelled in the second half, also finding seams.

They credit their offensive line. Increasingly, as the game went on, Marcus said, “I could see holes opening up on the back side. I went through them” to dash into the open field. Whenever he did, he usually was gone. The left side has the two Big Birds. Both are huge juniors. Jacob Capps is 6-9 and weighs 300 pounds. Wyatt Nabers is 6-7 and 297.

Head coach Bobby James said “I’m excited about our future” with the developing line and athletic skill players.

Strong-armed East quarterback Joe Justice, a junior, passed for 227 yards and two TDs and ran for 22 more on two carries. He completed 14 of 25 throws. On East’s second play from scrimmage, Justice ignited momentum. He connected with Tyler Adams for a 64-yard score. “Tyler split between two guys, through their zone.” Adams caught the ball near midfield and dashed down the right side. “It feels really good to start the season like this,” Adams said of the victory.

Isaac Burleson made an acrobatic 12-yard TD catch, a half-minute into the fourth quarter. He leaped up, trying to snatch the ball with his fingertips. As he fell down to the ground, he bobbled the ball but brought it down to him. He grabbed it again and hung on for the score. Earlier, Burleson’s reception was good on a two-point conversion.

Justice said Eagle receivers’ “technique can win over the strength and size” of opposing defenders.

The Eagle defense also sparkled. DE Jayden Borne is the Jason Bourne of the unit, with the ferocity of that film action hero, Jason Bourne. Borne smashed into the Rosman QB as he was passing the ball. It was picked off by safety Leland Prutzman, a sophomore who wears number six. He earned the nickname “Pick Six” by returning it 34 yards for another score. Eagle teammates mobbed him, with the team up 41-0.

East plays at Andrews and Hendersonville, and opens its Mountain Seven games at home Sept. 16 versus Franklin and Sept. 23 against West.

Rout for Falcons

West Henderson hosts Hendersonville on Friday, Aug. 26. Both teams won big last Friday. West led East Rutherford 28-0 at the half and reached the 42-point lead slaughter threshold to initiate a running clock in the third quarter.

QB Lukas Kachilo connected with Truitt Manuel for two TDs. But West showed its entertaining, offensive show co-stars many others. Running backs Carson Dimsdale and Diego Castro, both juniors, were impressive Friday. Kachilo opened the scoring by drilling a six-yard screen TD to Castro, who then connected with Manuel. West got a safety on a punt snap through the ERHS end zone and led 15-0.

Dimsdale ran ten yards to paydirt. Kachilo found Manuel open at the 40, and he raced down the right side for the last score before halftime. Caleb Collany is among the Falcon defenders setting up TDs with long interception returns.


A.C. Reynolds shut out West Forsyth 37-0, with Hayden Craig at quarterback. “Masher Asher” Cunningham bashed in for a TD, and ACR pulled away to a 17-0 lead in the third quarter.

Asheville sealed its win with Aeon Benjamin’s 83-yard pick six in the last minute. That foiled a Robbinsville go-ahead drive that neared the red zone. RHS ground out an early scoring drive, then was stifled as AHS adjusted.

Deshaun Whitmire was a two-way star for AHS. His interception got the Cougars going in the second quarter. He ran for two TDs and a 14-6 lead as a wildcat QB, in place of usual QB Meek Slydell.

The three Buncombe teams that lost at home were T.C. Roberson 49-13 to Watauga; Erwin 42-19 to Mitchell and star QB Ty Turbyfill; and North Buncombe 21-0 to Swain. Erwin senior QB Iggy Welch lobbed a TD pass to sophomore Hunter Cromer in the end zone.

Enka hosts Pisgah on Friday, Aug. 26. ACR travels to 2A power Shelby, Asheville travels to 3A power Kings Mountain, TCR travels to Ashbrook, and Erwin travels to Heritage. Owen opens its season at talented Chase.