‘Leave No Doubt’: West is Best in County - TribPapers
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‘Leave No Doubt’: West is Best in County

Carson Dimsdale (3) cuts back, juking Landon Hunter (7) to dash for a long gain in West’s road win Friday. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Fruitland – West Henderson Falcons (5-0) beat host North Henderson Knights (3-1) by 54-16 Friday.

The Falcons led 34-9 at halftime. Head coach Paul Whitaker praised their getting the jump on the intra-county rivals, and keeping up pressure with a hard-hitting, tenaciously-pursuing defense and big-strike offense.

The Falcons also won big (by 41-0) at Hendersonville in week two. They are eager to wrap up the unofficial county championship, against struggling but improving East Henderson (0-5) for homecoming on Friday, Sept. 22. West then plays at Smoky Mountain, and hosts Pisgah in a likely 3A Mountain Seven title showdown.

On Friday, quarterback Jude Lyda and receiver Truitt Manuel each had a hand in four of West’s eight touchdowns. They combined for three aerial TDs. Lyda tossed a screen left to Manuel for a 71-yard TD, to ignite the scoring. Carson Dimsdale ran five yards for the second TD.

West showcasing the same trick play for the second time this season. Manuel, a former QB, got the ball from Dimsdale on a double reverse. He heaved a pass to wide-open Diego Castro for a 68-yard score. League contenders Pisgah and Franklin also successfully deployed trick passes in wins Friday.

Zion Fauntleroy–McDaniel (20) sprints around end. Fellow Knight Avery Thompson (75) tries to block LB Eben Mann (20), while Falcon linebackers Aiden Ostman (7) and Brayden Settle (8) also pursue. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Zion Fauntleroy–McDaniel (20) sprints around end. Fellow Knight Avery Thompson (75) tries to block LB Eben Mann (20), while Falcon linebackers Aiden Ostman (7) and Brayden Settle (8) also pursue. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Manuel surpassed 200 overall yards. Three of his six receptions went for touchdowns. He averaged 21 yards per catch. He was among three Falcons to throw scoring passes, for an unusual team feat. The Falcons had 271 yards and four TDs in the air. They rushed for two scores and 186 yards, averaging six yards per carry.

Payne a Pain

Coach Jim Beatty’s North Henderson can make playoffs by beating most if not all other M7 foes. Their big win over HHS (by 31-12) in the season opener showed what they can do. The Knights had highlights Friday. Keith Payne was a pain for West, such as when hauling in long receptions and intercepting the ball in Falcon territory. The Knights drove deep early on, but missed a field goal. Esteban Sanchez later booted a 26-yard field goal to avert the shutout.

Mason Fowler, who later injured his knee, threw a 14-yard TD pass to fellow senior Johnathan Costley. Near the end, gutsy Mason Gasperson ran 15 yards for a Knight score.

Many Contributors

In between those two Knight TDs, it was all West. Lyda passed ten yards to Manuel for a TD. Manuel’s long gain on a reception set up Lyda’s two-yard keeper with 15 seconds before halftime. Manuel opened second-half scoring when he snatched a short touch pass and ran eight yards.

Workhorse Dimsdale ran for 114 yards (5.4 YPC). He broke free for a 51-yard TD run. Zane McCraw averaged 12 yards on four carries for West.

Falcon tight end Tyler Nash (14) busts ahead for a first down. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Falcon tight end Tyler Nash (14) busts ahead for a first down. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Sophomore Cade Young came in at QB. He tallied West’s last score, on his 16-yard pass to Tyler Nash. Young is 23 of 25 (92%) for the season. He said that with a comfortable lead, his teammates seemed to relax yet keep up effort. “We flowed. Everything clicked.”

Big tight Nash busted many tackles. He said that West’s dominant victories are a result of “working hard” since last season.

Manuel praised the Knights for being “very physical.” But after West’s lead widened, he sensed that “they didn’t want any more of us.”

Cats Win, Eagles Hang Tough

Hendersonville (2-3) beat R-S Central 49-20 at home in a 2A Mountain Foothills opener. The Bearcats led 28-6 at halftime.

HHS head coach Kirron Ward has many weapons, and they were on display. Hezzie Rudisill sprinted for two TDs and 90 yards, averaging seven yards per carry.

Freshman QB JaRon Ward is developing well. He completed ten of 13 passes. He threw for 264 yards and three scores — such as to Amir Albany and C.J. Landrum. Ward averaged 11 yards per run. Albany’s return from a week one injury sparks HHS.

Landrum had nearly 100 receiving yards on three catches, plus a sack and forced fumble.

East Henderson lost 24-8 at Franklin. Coach Colton Brackett’s Eagles scored as Gabe Jones burst blocked a punt, and Seth McCarson returned it ten yards. The two-pointer tightened the score at 14-8.

MAC Blowouts

Several 4A/3A Mountain Athletic Conference openers were decisive road triumphs. Erwin won 49-16 at Enka. Erwin freshman QB Caden Ingle ran for two TDs – one a 26-yard scamper. Ingle threw a 38-yard TD pass to Brendan Phelan, and a bomb to Phelan. Nick Sharpe ran for two Warrior TDs and 106 yards (17 YPC). Enka QB Cam Wait dashed for a score.

A.C. Reynolds won 50-0 at North Buncombe. Hayden Craig passed for nearly 200 yards and two TDs — one to Ty Johnson. Reynolds had successive TD runs by Malik Angram and Tyvon Patterson.

T.C. Roberson won 48-0 at McDowell. Reno Jeter ran for a long TD. Lex Dinwiddie tossed a sprint-out scoring pass to Cohen Bohanon, and ran for the next TD.