Entertaining Eagles Light Up Scoreboards - TribPapers

Entertaining Eagles Light Up Scoreboards

Photo by Pete Zamplas.

East Flat Rock – East Henderson Eagles wear green and white, but they are not a “green” team in their electricity usage. They are burning out scoreboard lights early in this varsity football season. East, with its suspect run defense, lost 47-36 at North Buncombe then 54-30 to Andrews at home.

“When adversity hits, you can pout about it — or fix it,” first-time head coach Colton Brackett said about turning around fate. Brackett, 31, remembers East’s glory years. He was a starting Eagle senior receiver under head coach Brett Chappell in 2009, a year after East went 13-2. Brackett coached T.C. Roberson receivers and track athletes for the past eight years.

East was 2-8 in 2022. There are bright spots after two games in ’23. East had 441 and 411 yards of total offense, and led early both times. Next up is rival Hendersonville at home on Friday. “Hendersonville says it’s HPO (high-powered offense). We’re high power, too,” Brackett said.

Eagle QBs Take Flight

He suddenly has two talents at quarterback. Lex Burns (5-10, 170 jr.) ran for two scores and completed 29 of 36 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns (one a long one) in the opener. “He’s pretty dang accurate,” Brackett said. “He’s smart. Lex makes the right reads on the inside-zone RPO, most of the time.”

In game two, Burns threw for a TD but got injured in the third quarter. He has a suspected high ankle sprain, and is expected to miss a few weeks. The next QB struggled. The third one sizzled.

Eagle James Robinson (5-9, 150 jr.) emerged as a dual-threat QB. He came to East as a running back from near Baltimore, Md., and was East’s lead runner. Once he was pressed into QB duty, East outscored Andrews 24-14 the rest of the way.

Robinson was brilliant. He “threaded the needle” by passing for three touchdowns and 232 yards, completing two-thirds (12 of 18) of his throws. He has swift 4.5 speed and elusive moves. He ran for 104 yards, after rushing for 91 and a TD in the opener. He averages 8.1 yards per carry. Initially, East ran a shotgun triple option. But Brackett expanded plays, once passes clicked.

“He’s the real deal,” Brackett said. “My jar dropped.” Also, “he held his own in the pocket.” Robinson has totaled 531 yards in two games, including 58 in kickoff returns and 46 in receiving.

Quick and Big Birds

Receivers have “improved tremendously,” Brackett said. Four line up at a time. They include quick Isaac Schulz (5-10, 160 so.), Leland Prutzman (5-9, 150 jr.), Landon Noel (5-5, 135 jr.) and Andrew Ramsey (6-2, 170 sr.); and tall Tanner Floyd (6-3, 165 sr.), and Brody McMillan (6-1, 170 jr.). In game one, Prutzman totaled 163 yards on seven catches, including a 52-yarder. Floyd had eight catches for 107 yards. In game two, Schulz caught all three of Robinson’s TD throws, 11 passes, and three two-point throws. Noel reeled off 170 yards (43 YPC) on “backside post” patterns.

Running backs include powerful Eli Herman (6-0, 195 sr.), who transferred in from North Henderson; Colby Lavine (5-9, 185 sr.), and RB-linebackers Dakota Page (5-10, 180 jr.) and Isaiah Hamar (5-10, 200 so.).

East’s veteran line is anchored by “Big Bird” senior tackles Jacob Capps (6-8, 335) and Wyatt Nabers (6-7, 320), with Ben Justice (5-10, 210 so.) at center. Guards are Gabe Jones (6-1, 220 so.) and Caleb Walker (6-3, 250 jr.) or Herman. Jones said, “We’ll help carry the team on our (broad) backs.” Coach Brackett said, “We have strength and varsity experience up front, along with ball skill.”

Look for East to gain traction by winning its homecoming game Sept. 8 versus Owen Warhorses.