A long losing streak was broken (North Buncombe High), the dream of an undefeated season ended (Mitchell), and some winning streaks (Mountain Heritage, Franklin, Christ School, Brevard, Asheville High, Cherokee) continued. A lot of drama and great performances punctuated Week 8 of the WNC high school football season.
Nick Lisenbee, North Buncombe
Apparently, the Black Hawks’ tailback had had enough of losing, so he rushed 28 times for 248 yards and six touchdowns in a 48-14 win over North Henderson. That victory snapped a 21-game losing streak that dated back three seasons and was the area’s longest. He scored on runs 25, 24, 21, 12, 10 and 3 yards.
Over four seasons, the dynamo has rushed 503 times for 2,640 yards.
Clark Gray, Madison
In a game that featured 976 yards of offense, Gray produced 432 yards in a 52-34 win over Avery. The Patriots’ talented junior rushed 22 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns and completed 14 of 20 passes for 209 yards.
He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in passing (1,054 yards) and rushing (1,126) in just seven games, the first WNC player to go over 1,000 yards in both areas.
Van McCollum, Avery
The Vikings’ signal caller nearly matched Gray’s effort. He rushed 16 times for 200 yards and three TDs and completed 6 of 16 passes for 121 yards and a score, a 35-yarder to his brother Sam McCollum.
Trey Robinson, Mountain Heritage
Another great effort by WNC’s all-time leader in total yardage (10,740 yards). The Cougars’ senior quarterback rushed for 219 yards and two scores in a 30-20 win over Mitchell. Robinson got plenty of help from Dathan Robinson (169 yards rushing, two TDs).
Ben Young, Mitchell
The Mountaineers’ senior QB became the third player in WNC history to surpass 10,000 total yards in the loss to Mountain Heritage. His 280 yards passing and 31 yards rushing gives him 10,013 total yards, joining Trey Robinson (10,740) and Erwin’s Damien Ferguson (10,281) in an exclusive club.
Mitchell Johnson, Brevard
Another talented underclassman quarterback, the Blue Devils’ junior completed 9 of 10 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-28 win over East Henderson. He got help from teammates Estevian Benjamin (126 yards rushing), Anthony Fields (90 yards rushing) and Luke Ellenberger (91 yard kickoff return).
Rome Henson, Eric Robinson and Tanner Wike, Pisgah
You don’t see this often – three runners who each finished with more than 135 rushing yards. The Bears piled up 443 yards on the ground, thanks to Wike (165 yards, two TDs), Eric Robinson (140 yards, 1 TD) and Henson (138 yards, two scores).
Three Hillier, Asheville High
A rising star as a sophomore, Hillier led a comeback from a 16-0 deficit in a 30-16 win over Tuscola. Hillier completed 15-of-19 passes for 297 yards and /// scores and got plenty of help from teammate Corey Clement, who rushed for 149 yards and caught three balls for 73 yards.
Nate Coffey, Smoky Mountain
No. 2 in WNC in passing yardage (1,679 yards), Coffey put together another strong night in the loss to Pisgah.
He completed 21-of-31 passes for 202 yards and three scores, completing TDs to Montel Turner (5 yards), Dustin Stephens (68 yards) and Cody Lominac (4 yards).
Bodies banged up from a slew of injuries and egos bruised by losses that mount up week after week, year after year, the Black Hawks’ grit and perseverance finally paid off. Coach Brandon Allen’s squad snapped a 21-game losing streak with a 48-14 romp over North Henderson to delight a homecoming crowd.
The Warriors’ bounce back from an 0-4 start continued with a third straight win, 30-20 over Roberson. In his first season, coach Rodney Pruett has done a nice job of keeping his team together through early-season adversity.
Speaking of bouncing back, the Cougars won their fifth straight after an 0-3 start. A 30-16 run past Tuscola included 23 second-half points and the recovery from a 16-0 deficit.
The Cougars’ quest for a third straight Western Highlands 2-A Conference title took a giant step with a 30-20 win over previously unbeaten Mitchell. As usual, coach Joey Robinson did it with a punishing ground game (413 rushing yards) and stout defense, limiting the Mountaineers to 113 yards on the ground.
Just win, baby. The Panthers scored two touchdowns in a four-minute span of the fourth quarter to open Mountain Six 2-A Conference play with a 21-13 victory at Hendersonville. Under coach Josh Brooks, Franklin is 38-5 in conference games since 2011.