Unless noted, all kickoffs at 7:30 p.m.
Mountain Athletic 3-A/4-A
ENKA (1-6, 0-2) at ASHEVILLE (5-1, 0-1)
Last week: Enka lost to Erwin, 20-0; Asheville lost to Reynolds, 54-21.
Last year: Asheville beat Enka, 62-0.
Notes: Until we meet again? Asheville High and Reynolds have never played twice in one football season. Never say never with the recent number of Mountain Athletic Conference rematches in the NCHSAA 3-A and 3-AA playoffs. For now, all the Cougars and Shrine Bowl lineman Pete Leota can worry about is bouncing back from their program’s most lopsided loss in 12 years. Reggie Battle (837 yards, 10 touchdowns) is closing in on his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, while Devon Davidson (728 yards and seven touchdowns with six interceptions) is averaging 121.3 yards per game with the help of Isaiah Drummond (11 receptions for 190 yards and two touchdowns), Aquila Smith (nine receptions for 161 yards and one touchdown), Makaius Brewer (six receptions for 158 yards and three touchdowns) and Shamauri Shivers (six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown). Former All-MAC linebacker Christian Green is averaging a team-high 12.1 tackles per game, followed by Michah Robertson (9.2), Brewer (7.7), Jose Daniels (7.3), Shivers (5.3), Andrew Leota (5.2) and Cade Pearson (4.8). Enka and Michael Cantrell (1,053 yards, 11 touchdowns) are smarting from just their second shutout loss in five years. Jason Fabio (493 passing yards, 190 rushing yards and seven combined touchdowns) has tended to favor Chase Bennett (15 receptions for 150 yards and one touchdown), Avery Holbrook (14 receptions for 110 yards) and Sayquan Bethea (11 receptions for 133 yards). The defense is headed up by Bryson Buckner (8.0 tackles per game), Chance Hannah (6.4), Zane Turner (6.3), Hunter Kinser (5.4) and Holbrook (5.3). Asheville holds a 31-5 edge in this all-time series. Cougars coach Danny Wilkins is a 1975 Jets graduate.
Pick: Asheville by 21.
MCDOWELL (3-4, 0-2) at ERWIN (3-4, 1-1)
Last week: McDowell lost to North Buncombe, 32-21, on Monday; Erwin beat Enka, 20-0.
Last year: Erwin beat McDowell, 47-0.
Notes: Buckle up, it’s about to be a gauntlet. McDowell and Casey Ray (1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns with 11 interceptions) are at the outset of a three-week schedule that will see them play Erwin, Asheville High (Oct. 16) and then Reynolds (Oct. 23) in subsequent weeks. Ray went over the 1,000-yard mark on Monday and is now 44 yards away from becoming the Titans’ very first quarterback to throw for 4,000 career yards. The senior is on the verge of history thanks to the hands of Ethan McMahan (30 receptions for 453 yards and seven touchdowns), Chase Justice (18 receptions for 180 yards and one touchdown) and Tyler Banks (17 receptions for 272 yards and two touchdowns). Rushing-wise, Terion Camp (564 yards, two touchdowns) has strung together three straight 100-yard games. Erwin is coming off its first shutout win of the season with to a defense fronted by Cameron Connors (9.0 tackles per game), Rayonte Mills (7.4), Lucas Towles (7.1), C.J. Thompson (6.9) and Brevon Littlejohn (5.6). Damien Ferguson (1,527 yards and 15 touchdowns with six receptions) can throw at any time to the leading receiver in WNC — Thompson (41 receptions for 484 yards and eight touchdowns). Chase Austin (35 receptions for 497 yards two touchdowns) and Kealin Goode (35 receptions for 313 yards and two touchdowns) have each made 35 catches and Isaiah Poore (400 yards, four touchdowns) remains the top rusher.
Pick: Erwin by 14.
ROBERSON (2-4, 1-0) at NORTH BUNCOMBE (3-4, 2-0)
Last week: Roberson did not play; North Buncombe beat McDowell, 32-21, on Monday.
Last year: North Buncombe beat Roberson, 32-14.
Notes: “Big Play Blake” might stick as a nickname if North Buncombe junior Blake Mathews keeps this up. Mathews (19 receptions for 559 yards and eight touchdowns) is the latest winner of the Mission Health Spotlight Performance of the Week award. He is averaging 29.4 yards per catch and had 111 yards and two touchdowns Monday. Not only that, Mathews produced a couple pick-six interceptions (37 and 89 yards) on defense. Chase Parker (1,081 passing yards, 164 rushing yards and 13 combined touchdowns) went over the 1,000-yard mark. Fellow senior Ricky Thrash (35 receptions for 376 yards) continues to be a valuable possession player and the running game is fueled by Colby Maltry (485 yards, four touchdowns) and Nick Lisenbee (368 yards, five touchdowns). The Black Hawks defense draws off the play of Logan Anderson (7.1 tackles per game), Sammy MacDonald (5.7) and Peter Simonovich (5.7), who already has 11 tackles for a loss. Roberson leads this all-time series, 28-16-2, and is the only MAC program coming off a bye week. Dezmond Moorman (330 yards, four touchdowns) ran for a pair of scores in a 28-14 home win over McDowell on Sept. 25, while Chris Barnwell (161 passing yards, 147 rushing yards and four combined touchdowns) rushed and threw for a touchdown. Denzel Summey has made a team-high 11 receptions for 219 yards and a touchdown. Seth Griswold has taken over the WNC lead in tackles (13.3 per game), while Logan Wells (9.8), Robert Balcom (5.2), Gilbert Whiteside (5.2) and Ian McAdoo (4.6) are other notable defenders.
Pick: North Buncombe by 3.
WNC Athletic 2-A/3-A
BREVARD (2-4, 0-2) at EAST HENDERSON (0-6, 0-2)
Last week: Brevard lost to Tuscola, 42-20, on Monday; East Henderson lost to North Henderson, 58-39 on Monday.
Last year: East Henderson beat Brevard, 48-38.
Notes: Two years has been entirely too long. Winning their first conference game since 2013 would be another mark of progress for Brevard and playmakers such as Tanner Ellenberger (897 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions), Tanner Pettit (408 rushing yards, 196 receiving yards and five combined touchdowns), Nick Cabe (20 receptions for 280 yards and five touchdowns) and Hamilton Lopez (12 receptions for 158 yards and one touchdown). Defensively, Brevard’s leaders are Kyle Williams (10.6 tackles per game), Pettit (10.5) and Earon Wilkes (7.6). Trace Goldsmith (507 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions) and the East Henderson offense are coming off a season-high for points scored on Monday. Goldsmith passed for 235 yards and four touchdowns. His most likely targets have been Josh Glynn (16 receptions for 246 yards and two touchdowns) and Nick Lyons (10 receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown). Cole Revis (255 yards, two touchdowns) has been the primary rusher and tops all Eagles tacklers with 7.3 a game. Other big contributors on that side of the ball are Revis (5.5) and Coal Webb (5.2). East Henderson is looking to shed the longest active losing streak in the WNCAC (nine games).
Pick: Brevard by 1.
FRANKLIN (4-2, 2-0) at SMOKY MOUNTAIN (3-3, 1-1)
Last week: Franklin beat Pisgah, 21-7; Smoky Mountain beat West Henderson, 14-7, on Monday.
Last year: Franklin beat Smoky Mountain, 42-6.
Notes: Now that’s what you call taking it to the house. Leading rusher Kelton Lowry (717 yards, 11 touchdowns) broke a 44-year-old Franklin school record with his 106-yard interception return for a touchdown a week ago. The previous school record was 96 yards and set in 1971 by Danny Cook. Lowry, Jackson Perone (489 yards and one touchdown with five interceptions), Hunter Gibbs (452 yards, two touchdowns) and Jordin Nugent (10 receptions for 185 yards and one touchdown) have won 14 of the last 15 games in this Cowee Mountain series. Gibbs is averaging a team-high 12.7 tackles per game for the Panthers, followed by Dillon Daves (7.7), Ethan Volk (6.3), Logan Tallent (6.0), Lowry (6.0) and Kendrick Bryson (5.8). Smoky Mountain backup quarterback Nate Coffey (115 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions) showed he was capable on Monday. The Mustangs are expected to get starter Chase Fisher (227 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions) back from a hamstring injury for this game at Carr Hooper Stadium. Carson Shuler (384 yards, four touchdowns) and Matthew Ridley (302 yards, two touchdowns) have been the biggest cogs in the Mustangs’ rushing game. Connor Moore (eight receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns) has emerged as the top receiver. Carlos Pantoja leads all WNCAC tacklers with 13.0 stops per game. Other defenders that Smoky Mountain relies on are Carson Shuler (7.5), Kevin Allred (7.0), Moore (6.5) and Jacob Gass (5.3).
Pick: Franklin by 7.
NORTH HENDERSON (4-2, 1-1) at TUSCOLA (5-1, 2-0)
Last week: North Henderson beat East Henderson, 58-39, on Monday; Tuscola beat Brevard, 42-20, on Monday.
Last year: Tuscola beat North Henderson, 41-6.
Notes: Monday night football is becoming the norm for North Henderson. So is winning. Trevor Craft (694 passing yards, 595 rushing yards and 14 combined touchdowns) and the Knights are one step closer to their first winning season in 15 years after Monday’s 97-point shootout with a county rival. North Henderson has been forced to play the past two Mondays due to wet field conditions. The Knights will be on the road Friday for the first time since Sept. 12. Ashton Woodring (16 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns) and Darren Lammons (14 receptions for 308 yards and four touchdowns) have been the most active receivers for North Henderson. Leading tacklers are Cole McCarson (10.2 per game), Austin Vanhoy (8.3), Cameron Bumgarner (7.5), Brandon Johnson (6.7), Devon Graham (6.0) and Damian Murphy (5.5). Four Tuscola players have rushed for 200 or more yards – Caleb Ferguson (740 yards, 12 touchdowns), Roman Jenkins (473 yards, six touchdowns), Brent Turner (295 yards, three touchdowns) and quarterback Zach Webster (223 yards, four touchdowns). Jenkins and Turner are both averaging more than nine yards a carry and Webster is the area’s only full-time starter at his position who has yet to throw an interception. Ferguson (12 receptions for 243 yards and one touchdown) has nine more catches than any other Tuscola receiver. The defense has been fortified by Taylor Austin (10.5 tackles per game), Webster (9.8), Joe Napert (9.0), Grayson Perkins (7.2), Eli Trantham (7.2) and Jeremiah Jacobs (7.0).
Pick: Tuscola by 3.
WEST HENDERSON (4-2, 1-1) at PISGAH (4-2, 1-1)
Last week: West Henderson lost to Smoky Mountain, 14-7, on Monday; Pisgah lost to Franklin, 21-7.
Last year: Pisgah beat West Henderson, 3-0.
Notes: Hard to spell, harder to stop.
Pick: “Balance” is no longer a dirty word in WNCAC football. Two-time defending champion Franklin and Tuscola have broken away from the pack for now. But the 2-A/3-A league still appears to be much more competitive than past years. Pisgah and Daniel VanVaerenbergh (936 yards, eight touchdowns) can’t afford to lose any more ground after its first WNCAC loss, nor can West Henderson and Stephen Perron (9.2 tackles per game). VanVaerenbergh is a senior on the verge of his first 1,000-yard season and the Black Bears also get strong production out of Houston Rogers (528 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions) and outlets such as Jesse Martinez (19 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns) and Trey Morgan (16 receptions for 187 yards and three touchdowns). Defensive standouts are Jeff Albritton (4.3 tackles per game), Morgan (4.2) and Garrett Jones (4.0). West Henderson quarterback Brandon Whitaker (204 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions) threw his second touchdown of the season (55 yards) to Tristan Thomas (12 receptions for 150 yards and one touchdown) on Monday. Tanner Bullock (477 yards, six touchdowns) is the top rusher for the Falcons and other key tacklers besides Perron are Thomas (6.2 a game), Landon Owen (5.5), Caleb Grubbs (5.4), Devin Stepp (5.3) and Peyton Frisbee. Pisgah has won nine of the last 10 games in this series with the last West Henderson victory occurring in 2009.
Pick: Pisgah by 7.
Western Highlands 1-A/2-A
AVERY COUNTY (1-5, 0-1) at HENDERSONVILLE (3-4, 2-0)
Last week: Avery County did not play; Hendersonville beat Madison, 56-27, on Monday.
Last year: Hendersonville beat Avery County, 21-0.
Notes: Hendersonville senior Michael Schmidt gives defensive coordinators high blood pressure on a weekly basis. Schmidt (2,020 passing yards, 464 rushing yards and 20 combined touchdowns) recently became the first 5,000-yard quarterback in Bearcats history and surpassed 2,000 yards for the season on Monday. He has directed most of his passes to Tykel Landrum (38 receptions for 783 yards and six touchdowns), Michael Cook (29 receptions for 486 yards and four touchdowns), Quintin Wright (23 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns), Terrold Gary (23 receptions for 233 yards) and Leon Cooks (13 receptions for 237 yards and four touchdowns). As far as defense goes, standouts have been Blaine Sharpe (9.5 tackles per game), Shawn Pearce (7.5), Landrum (6.4), Cole McMurray (6.0), Wright (5.4), Dominick Daniel (5.0) and Greyson Rogers (4.6). Avery County and Luke Crowe (750 passing yards, 220 rushing yards and seven combined touchdowns) have not been in action since a 49-6 home loss to Owen on Sept. 25. The Vikings got their only touchdown that night on an 11-yard run by Christian Hicks (161 yards, two touchdowns). Chandler Stansberry (21 receptions for 241 yards), Brent Hammer (17 receptions for 177 yards and one touchdown) and Brett Smith (11 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns) are their top-ranking receivers. Ryan Sheppard (7.3 tackles per game), Ethan Johnson (6.6), Steven Sanchez (5.0) and Stansberry (5.0) are all averaging five or more tackles a night.
Pick: Hendersonville by 21.
OWEN (1-5, 1-1) at MOUNTAIN HERITAGE (5-2, 1-1)
Last week: Owen lost to Mitchell, 42-20; Mountain Heritage beat Polk County, 26-25.
Last year: Owen beat Mountain Heritage, 42-30.
Notes: They grow up so fast. The Western Highlands Conference has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers and both are sophomores – Owen tailback Sidney Gibbs (1,135 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Mountain Heritage quarterback Trey Robinson (1,144 rushing yards, 406 passing yards and 21 combined touchdowns). Gibbs hit the benchmark for the first time last Friday, while Robinson has run for a combined 2,502 yards in two years as the Cougars’ signal-caller. Robinson ran for his 14th and 15th touchdowns of the season last Friday and threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Alston Randolph (seven receptions for 156 yards and one touchdown). Randolph is a sophomore whose biggest moment was coming up with a game-saving tackle on a potential 2-point conversion in the final minute. Dathan Robinson (369 yards, two touchdowns), Britt Burleson (211 yards, four touchdowns) and Cole Burleson (158 rusing yards, 155 receiving yards and four combined touchdowns) are other standouts for the offense. Gibbs takes his handoffs from DeMarcus Harper (684 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions) whose receiving corps includes Bricen Fowler (22 receptions for 388 yards and one touchdown) and Cyrus Hooper (12 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown). Defensive stalwarts are Hooper (5.8 tackles per game), Landon Hollar (5.2), Alex Huntsinger (5.2), Justin Wilson (5.0), Colby Maloney (4.8), Fowler (4.7) and Dexter Andrews (4.5).
Pick: Mountain Heritage by 7.
Smoky Mountain 1-A
ROBBINSVILLE (4-2, 2-0) at ROSMAN (5-1, 2-0)
Last week: Robbinsville beat Murphy, 30-22, on Monday; Rosman beat Andrews, 21-0, on Monday.
Last year: Robbinsville beat Rosman, 42-13 (regular season) and 28-14 (second round of NCHSAA 1-A playoffs).
Notes: Check those coordinates and directions again. Because all roads to the Smoky Mountain Conference championship may still run through Robbinsville. Former SMC Lineman of the Year Austin Hedrick and the defending champions were picked third in a coaches preseason poll, but asserted themselves Monday with a wire-to-wire victory at Murphy. Ian Wiggins (416 yards, six touchdowns) and Colby Hemphill (269 yards, five touchdowns) combined for three rushing touchdowns in that game. Lane Millsaps continues to lead the offense in rushing (647 yards, four touchdowns) and receiving (11 receptions for 141 yards). Colton Millsaps (401 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions) completed his second scoring pass of the season to Chandler Jumper (eight receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown) on Monday. The Black Knights defense takes its cues from Chad McCoy (8.8 tackles per game), Paden Welch (8.8), Kyler Brooks (7.7), Lane Millsaps (7.6) and Elijah Wachacha (6.0). Robbinsville re-entered this week’s Associated Press rankings for NCHSAA 1-A at No. 10. Tanner Green (570 yards, seven touchdowns) accounted for two of Rosman’s touchdowns on Monday and ranks second among Tigers rushers behind Gage Orr (753 yards, 12 touchdowns). The defense relies on Jacob Hall (7.8 tackles per game), Andres Villagomez (5.3), David Burrell (5.0) and Green (4.3).
Pick: Robbinsville by 1.
MURPHY (5-2, 1-1) at ANDREWS (3-4, 0-2)
Last week: Murphy lost to Robbinsville, 30-22, on Monday; Andrews lost to Rosman, 21-0, on Monday.
Last year: Murphy beat Andrews, 49-0 (regular season) and 55-20 (in first round of NCHSAA 1-A playoffs).
Notes: Murphy may have found a quarterback for the future and the present. Sophomore Joey Curry is the younger brother of former Bulldogs star Michael Curry who now plays college baseball for the University of Georgia. Joey Curry and senior Dalton Kent (771 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions) have shared reps this season, but the underclassmen came in Monday to throw for 134 yards as well as run for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Kadrian McRae (846 yards, 10 touchdowns) is averaging 8.1 yards per carry and the go-to receivers for the Bulldogs are Anthony Conners (19 receptions for 298 yards and six touchdowns), Bryce Clapsaddle (15 receptions for 203 yards) and Matthew Lovingood (12 receptions for 231 yards and two touchdowns). Ozzy Corrales (11.9 tackles per game), Alex Seabolt (10.7), Storm Worley (8.9), Cory Farmer (8.7), Adam Powell (8.7), Shannon Wilson (8.0) and Cody Cantrell (7.6) carry the defense. They need to be concerned with slowing down Andrews’ Dillan Ward (683 yards, one touchdown) and Taylor Parker (590 rushing yards, 461 passing yards and 12 combined touchdowns). The Wildcats’ defensive standouts are Ward (8.6 tackles per game), Drew Pyle (7.3), Derek Bateman (6.0), Willie Parker (6.0) and Parker (5.0). This Cherokee County series has been one-sided and then some over the years – Murphy has won 53 of the 59 all-time meetings.
Pick: Murphy by 14.
CHEROKEE (3-3, 0-1) at SWAIN COUNTY (3-3, 1-0)
Last week: Cherokee did not play; Swain County beat Hayesville, 43-22.
Last year: Swain County beat Cherokee, 17-7.
Notes: Swain County is off to a running start in the SMC. The Maroon Devils piled up 362 rushing yards in last Friday’s conference opener. Individual leaders who have been fed the football from Trent Wright (395 yards and three touchdowns with six interceptions) are Brody Sitton (279 yards, three touchdowns), Jordan Cody (255 yards, one touchdown) and Dylan Smith (175 yards, two touchdowns). Smith is coming off a career-high performance (121 yards) last Friday off just 14 carries. Cody has hauled in a team-high 12 receptions for 132 yards and the defense is fortified by Ross Ensley (10.8 tackles per game), Issiah Bradley (6.3), Johnny Woodard (6.2) and Caleb Woodard (4.8). Swain County leads this all-time series, 41-8. Cherokee sophomore Tye Mintz (833 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions) leads the SMC in passing as a sophomore with outlets such as Jason McMillan (26 receptions for 377 yards and seven touchdowns), Darius Blanton (15 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns), Holden Straughn (11 receptions for 123 yards), and Issiah Evans (10 receptions for 117 yards). Kennan Panther (11.5 tackles per game), Logan Teesateskie (11.0), Mintz (6.7), Dodge Crowe-Moss (6.6) and Will Davis (5.8) have distinguished themselves on defense. The next victory for the Braves will be significant. They haven’t won more than three games in a season since going 6-6 in 2009.
Pick: Swain County by 1.
CAROLINA GLADIATORS (0-6) at ASHEVILLE SCHOOL (2-3), 4:30 p.m.
Last week: Carolina Gladiators did not play; Asheville School lost to Rabun Gap (Ga.), 47-14.
Last year: Asheville School beat the Carolina Gladiators, 58-0.
Notes: Warm, fuzzy feelings come with the territory for home teams. Arbogast Field has been especially kind to Asheville School. David Schill (751 passing yards, 308 rushing yards and 12 combined touchdowns) has quarterbacked his team to both its wins in on-campus games this season. Rashad Morrison (329 yards, three touchdowns) is also a threat to run the ball while key receivers are Ahmad Galimore (24 receptions for 396 yards and three touchdowns), J.P. Schill (12 receptions for 98 yards) and Chris Amoroso (nine receptions for 114 yards). Amoroso and J.P. Schill are tied for the team lead in tackles (8.2 per game), followed by David Schill (8.0), Fisher Howard (6.6) and Titus Morrison (6.4), The Carolina Gladiators are a three-year old program based out of Asheville and have been outscored 284-12. Gladiators senior Wale Ogundeyi made headlines before the season ever started when he was offered a scholarship from Mars Hill University. This is the first-ever year of football for the 6-foot-8, 245 defensive end prospect from Nigeria.
Pick: Asheville School by 7.
FIRST ASSEMBLY CHRISTIAN (3-3) at CHRIST SCHOOL (4-2), 7 p.m.
Last week: First Assembly Christian did not play; Christ School beat North Raleigh Christian, 18-8.
Last year: Any questions? There were lots concerning the Christ School offense before the season. Junior Drew Johnson (1,080 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions) has answered them one completion at a time. Johnson is a first-time 1,000-yard passer for the Greenies with a receiving corps that includes Kokayi Cobb (15 receptions for 127 yards), Tyler Redmond (13 receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns) and Jared Letman-Gash (11 receptions for 291 yards and four touchdowns). Cobb doubles as the NCISAA team’s top rusher (262 yards, four touchdowns) and the defense gets its strength from Charlie Claffey (8.2 tackles per game), Tyler Redmond (6.8), Carson Jones (6.8) and Michael Reynolds (5.0). The Greenies have one common opponent with First Assembly Christian and Harper Woods (1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns with six interceptions). Christ School beat North Raleigh Christian by 10 points a week ago, while the margin of victory for First Assembly (which is based out of Concord) was 25 points on Sept. 11.
Notes: First Assembly Christian by 7.
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