Hendersonville – North Henderson stormed from behind to win a 28-24 thriller over North Buncombe. North Henderson cruised to a 30-6 lead in beating Owen (Score), while Hendersonville won decisively.
Hendersonville (3-1) blasted Mountain Heritage 51-16 on the road to snap a seven-game losing streak in Burnsville. But quarterback Elyja Gibbs broke his ankle, and will miss the remaining season.
East Henderson (2-1) trailed 21-13 at halftime. But as senior LB Nick Lyons proudly noted, the Eagle defense allowed no more TDs and merely a field goal in the second half. “We handled adversity” of trailing all but the final five minutes, Lyons said.
Head coach Robert James and the Eagles relished this emotional win. Ultimately, “we’re building men of character.”
The largest of two huge Eagle linemen, 6-foot-9, 300-pound Jacob Capps, proclaimed the team prevailed with its willpower and determination. “You gotta want it (victories)—and this team wants it!” He said it was “crazy” how the team “fought” back.
Tyler Adams also termed it a “crazy” outcome. Fellow senior receiver Isaac Burleson said the offense “kept producing.”
The score see-sawed in the first half, starting with Hawk QB Gabe Banks’ TD keeper midway into the first quarter.
The Marcus McCarson Show started 18 seconds later. He caught Joseph Justice’s lob into the end zone for a 32-yard score. McCarson said “I had a 50-50 shot” to catch it. He did.
The 7-7 tie lasted a quarter later, to the midpoint of the second until the Hawks’ 18-yard TD run. Once again, McCarson quickly matched a TD. This time it was 1:09 later, on his 42-yard run. The PAT missed. East was down a point, then 21-13 on a TD pass a minute before halftime. The third quarter was scoreless.
East scored seven seconds into the final quarter to tie it at 21 — on Isaac Burleson’s 12-yard TD catch on a crossing pattern. Tyler Adams caught Justice’s two-point conversion pass. But the Hawks went back ahead at 24-21, on a 31-yard field goal with 6:45 left.
Adams’ sparkling kickoff return set up the Eagles at the NB 46. McCarson scored on a five-yard run with 4:50 left. The Eagles led for the first time — “crunch” time. They squelched the Hawks’ final drive and ran out the clock, to win 28-24.
McCarson ran for 139 yards (7 ypc.) on 20 tries. The senior led East with 63 yards on four catches, surpassing 200 scrimmage yards. “Teams can’t stop (no.) 41,” assistant coach Dominque Whiteside said of McCarson.
Justice passed for 166 yards, completing 14 of 24 throws. Eagle receivers were sure-handed. Four Eagles, including Wesley Murray and Isaac Schulz, split 12 receptions. Burleson gained 52 receiving yards. Coach James calls him and Adams among “our great playmakers.” In his first start, he praised freshman Schulz.”He made two massive catches for us,” such as a 36-yarder on the game-tying drive.
The offensive line, coached by John Wall, was magnificent in opening holes, Coach James said. James said OC Dustin Page adjusted the strategy well at halftime. “We can get a ton better” by reducing mistakes, James said. “We could have felt down in the dumps.” Instead, the Eagles bounced back.
This bodes well as most area teams start conference games this coming Friday, Sept. 16. The East welcomes Franklin. West Henderson, off last week, is at North Henderson’s homecoming in another Mountain Seven contest. HHS opens its Mountain Foothills slate at R-S Central. The games begin at 7:30 p.m.
Pour it on, Knights
Coach Jim Beatty’s North Henderson Knights led Owen 30–6, putting away the game by late in the second quarter before Owen tightened the contest.
Zion Fauntleroy-McDaniel had a pick six. “Woot” can scoot. He scored the first Knight TD on a 41-yard run four minutes into the game. That was after NHHS gift-wrapped Owen a TD by coughing up the ball at its own three. Zion is the son of Nikki Fauntleroy. She was East Henderson’s star center on the 3A state champion basketball squad in 2000. She now coaches Lady Knight JV hoops.
North scored again two minutes later. Jaxson Willis passed to Drake Blackwell for 10 yards to the six. Sophomore Mason Gasperson then ran it in, bouncing off of a Warhorse near the end zone line.
McDaniel picked off Alex Sanchez and dashed 75 yards for an uplifting score, two minutes into the second quarter. North fans went wild. Next, Esteban Sanchez drilled a 33-yard field goal. He made all five of his extra point kicks.
The Knights led 30-6 two minutes later on a “hook and ladder,” as Willis tossed to McDaniel, who went wide then hooked back in. Woot took it 72 yards to the house.
Owen got going on a TD pass to close the half down 30-13, and he scored three second-half TDs. But NHHS countered with two TDs to stay ahead, as Willis ran four yards and Gasperson scooted 12 yards with two minutes to go.
Bearcats, run by MH
HHS first-year head coach Kirron Ward spoiled the debut of Heritage’s new turf, 51-16, to keep MHHS winless in ‘22.
“We went on a big run” to pull away, Ward said. “I’m tickled how our defense played well to (mostly) keep them out of the end zone. We got consistent stops, and turned those stops into points. It was a confidence boost.”
Heritage’s heritage of relentless power running clicked for an 8-0 lead. But HHS scored two minutes later on Elyja Gibbs’ four-yard QB keeper. The much faster Bearcats racked up over 400 rushing yards. Cooper King pinned Heritage at its two-yard-line with a booming 58-yard punt.
Eric Rasheed scored twice in the second quarter. First Gibbs, a junior, lateraled forward to him for a six-yard TD. Soonafter, Rasheed reversed direction to run a punt 85 yards to the end zone. The Bearcats suddenly led those other (Cougar) cats 21-8 in the final minute before halftime. Ward said, “We got rolling with quick scores.”
Hendersonville struck seconds into the second half. Lennard Benniefield caught Gibbs’ pass in full stride inside the five for a 45-yard score. Rasheed, the PAT holder, took the snap and hit C.J. Landrum for the first of their two successful two-point passes. HHS led by 21 at 29-8.
Gibbs dashed along half of the field, to set up Hezzie Rudisill’s three-yard score. Next was Malik Russell’s ten-yard TD catch.
Freshman QB Ivey Harper ran five yards for the final TD. He ran the offense, after Gibbs departed. Doctors found Gibbs’ leg had a “clean break but he torn the tendons,” his mother Altavise Gibbs reported Monday.
Heading into the league opener at R-S on Friday, Coach Ward sees the offense in sync and much “defensive momentum.”