Beyond the Scoreboard: Enka star enjoys final shot at football

Chase Bennett
Chase Bennett and coach Jeff Frady will represent Enka High Wednesday night in the N.C. Coaches' Association East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro. (Photo courtesy of Bennett)

Chase Bennett thought his football career was over.

The former Enka High standout hung up his jersey last November when he completed his senior season with the Jets.

He was working with his father this summer in the carpentry business, installing metal roofs, including an upcoming project on the house for his high-school football coach, Jeff Frady.

That job may have to wait awhile.

Bennett got a call from his coach last week, asking if he would like to put down the tools and put on the pads one more time, to play with and against some of the top high-school talent in the state.

The answer was an immediate and enthusiastic yes, and Bennett is in Greensboro this week practicing for Wednesday night's N.C. Coaches' Association East-West All-Star Game at Jamison Stadium.

Bennett stepped in when some players were unable to play in the game.

Frady, an assistant coach for the West squad, recommended Bennett, a multi-talented athlete who played quarterback and linebacker for the Jets.

"I never thought I would play again," said Bennett, who plans to attend A-B Tech this fall to study construction management.

"When I heard from coach Frady, and I was excited and honored to be invited."

In addition to adding a talented player to the West roster, Frady said the comfort level of coaching one of his former players made Bennett a good fit.

"For various reasons, some of the players have to back out of playing," he said. "It's nice to have a good, dependable kid that you know is going to play well and represent your school and your region in the best way possible."

Representing Enka the right way is something Bennett and Frady both mentioned when talking about the honor of being part of the West squad.

"We're proud of our mountain football and this is a chance to show people across the state what that's all about," said Frady.

"It's an honor to be part of this game, and this is the first time someone from Enka has coached in this game."

After practicing with the West team and attending a banquet on Sunday night, Bennett said he is enjoying the experience.

"It's a great group of guys to be around, and they are really talented," Bennett said.

"You tend to get competitive, especially guys (from WNC) that you play against, but I've been impressed with the sportsmanship and how everybody has come together as a team in such a short time.

"It's nice to be around that much talent."

That talent includes WNC players Tykel Landrum of Hendersonville, Andrew McKay of Reynolds and Colton Cochran of Franklin.

And being part of that talent - very likely for the final time - is something Bennett will savor.

"I'm very lucky to get to play one more time," he said.

"I've always loved football and been real passionate about it, and to get to play with coach Frady one more time is going to be a great experience."

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Keith Jarrett

President, Asheville Tourists/Eblen Charities Children's Fund

President, WNC Sports Hall of Fame

Board Member, Mountain Amateur Athletic Club