Dating back to early in the 2015 season, the Mountain Heritage High football team is 20-2 against WNC opponents, a dominating run through parts of three seasons.
On Friday night at Hendersonville, the Cougars have an opportunity to exact revenge on the program that produced that 2.
The Bearcats (4-1) are the only area team that has beaten Heritage in that streak, a 42-22 win last season and a 48-44 shootout in 2015.
Those two losses prevented the Cougars from undefeated seasons in Western Highlands 2-A Conference play in ’15 and ’16, and they shared the regular-season crowns with Hendersonville and Mitchell both seasons.
Thanks to realignment, Friday night’s match-up is a non-conference affair, because Hendersonville is now in the Mountain Six Conference while Heritage (4-0), ranked second in the WLOS WNC Top 10 Football Poll, remains in the WHC.
“Luck,” is how Bearcats’ coach Jim Sosebee describes the secret to beating Heritage.
“They are a very good program and they have had great teams the past couple of years, and we have been fortunate to beat them,” he said.
“They certainly have had our number the last two years,” said Heritage coach Joey Robinson. “They do what they do very well, and so do we, and it’s just hard to beat a good program like that.”
Both teams are getting great play from veteran quarterbacks.
Cougars’ senior Trey Robinson is starting his 44th straight game over four seasons. The son of coach Robinson has amassed 10,241 total yards in those 43 games, averaging a rather amazing 238 yards of offense per game.
He needs 41 yards to pass Erwin quarterback Damien Ferguson (10,281 yards from 2014-16) and become WNC’s all-time leader in total offense.
Robinson already holds the local record for touchdown accountability, with 127.
“He makes it so tough on defenses because he is like a coach on the field, and he’s a great athlete who can run and throw as well as being such a great leader,” said Sosebee.
Robinson’s counterpart at Hendersonville has also been prolific. Senior Alex Williford has thrown for 50 touchdowns in his last 19 games over two seasons, and this year he has 14 throwing scores.
His top receiver, Tykel Landrum (20 catches, 561 yards, five touchdowns), also has a chance to set a WNC career mark. He has 207 career receptions, four shy of passing Avery’s Josh Johnson (210 catches from 2003-05) as the area’s all-time leader.
“Landrum is a match-up nightmare, and now that they have Ensley (receiver Kalin Ensley, a North Henderson transfer who has 24 catches for 443 yards and eight TDs) on the other side,” said coach Robinson.
“The key to them is tackling. They are going to catch passes, but we have to try and limit their yards after the catch.”
Both teams are off next week before huge conference openers on Oct. 6. The Bearcats host Franklin and Mountain Heritage will entertain Mitchell.