A defining characteristic of the 2018 WNC high-school football season seven weeks in has been outstanding play under center.
A slew of quarterbacks has been instrumental in leading their teams to victory, and last week was just another reminder of the depth of quality play at that position.
Top performances include:
Navy Shuler, Christ School
The son of WNC legend Heath Shuler continues to put up incredible numbers. Through six games, the junior has thrown for 2,022 yards and 26 touchdowns with just four picks. He's averaging 337 yards passing per game and 15 yards per completion.
Three Hillier, Asheville High
Right behind Shuler in the "Wow!" category is another junior righthander. A 306-yard, six-TD performance in a 50-14 waltz over North Henderson gave the son of baseball coach Billy Hillier 1,765 yards passing this season, with 19 scores.
Cameron Simmons, East Rutherford
The Cavaliers' QB helped his team improve to 6-0 with a 54-21 win over Polk County. Simmons completed 9-of-12 passes for 182 yards, with three touchdowns. He also rushed for 55 yards and a score.
Caden Higgins, North Buncombe
The Black Hawks' talented QB led a punishing ground game in a 49-34 win over Enka. Among three rushers who combined for 464 yards on the ground, Higgins ran 21 times for 183 yards and three TDs. Skylar Juntras had 152 yards rushing (two TDs) and rising star Joe Jones added 129 yards and two sprints into the end zone.
Jake Smith, Enka
Have a game, young man! In the loss to North Buncombe, the Jets' senior receiver did all he could with five big-play touchdowns that averaged 69 yards per score.
He had seven catches for 219 yards, including scoring receptions of 80, 65 and 17 yards. He also returned kickoffs 92 and 90 yards into the end zone. Smith finished with 485 all-purpose yards.
Sophomore quarterback Jared Smith completed 12-of-26 passes for 253 yards and the three TDs.
Damian Lossiah, Swain
The Maroon Devils' sophomore quarterback piled up 251 yards of offense and accounted for four scores in a 43-28 win over Cherokee. Lossiah rushed 29 times for 184 yards, with touchdown runs of 1, 1 and 8 yards. He completed just one pass, but it was a 67-yard TD strike to Hunter Call.
Teammate and fellow sophomore Bryce Sain added 154 yards on 16 carries, with scores of 80 and 14 yards.
Will Frady, Smoky Mountain
The running back's rushing totals were modest (14 carries for 85 yards), but his impact wasn’t. Frady ran the ball into the end zone four times to help the Mustangs improve to 5-1 with a 41-6 win over Madison. He scored from 5 yards out and had three 1-yard plunges for TDs.
Kendrick Weaver, Erwin
The Warriors' quarterback threw for five touchdowns and finished with 299 yards of offense in a 55-33 win over West Henderson. Weaver completed 8-of-18 passes, with two scores going to Simeon Thompson (four caches, 68 yards). Weaver also rushed for 104 yards.
On pace for just their second winning season in 10 years, the Black Hawks improved to 5-2 with a 49-34 Western Mountain Athletic Conference victory over Enka.
The five wins matched the program's victory total over the past three seasons (5-28).
After an 0-2 start, coach Neil Blankenship's Maroon Devils have won two straight and three of four to get back to .500 (3-3, 2-0 in the Smoky Mountain Conference). A quality win against Cherokee (43-28) sets up a probable showdown for first place in league play at Murphy in two weeks.
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