Cole Cleary dodges through the Greenies defense for the first of his two long TD receptions Friday.
The Bearcats (4-1) won the last three by an average score of 37-13. On Friday, their passing combination of Michael Schmidt to Cole Cleary clicked for TD plays of 59 and 84 yards. The first one made the score 12-0 10 ticks of the clock before halftime.
Each star accounted for another TD. Schmidt found Michael Cook in a Michael-to-Michael 46-yard play, to open scoring in the second quarter. Cook dazzled the crowd with zig-zagging moves to elude a handful of Greenies.
Cleary’s TD catches were also glittering gems of post-catch moves and breaking tackles. He faked out several Greenies on the first scoring catch, and covered 60 yards after the second one. Cleary, the former QB healing from a pinkhy injury, scored three TDs including on an 18-yard keeper up the gut as “wildcat” snap taker in the “red zone.” The two-way star made an interception.
Lead back Terrold Gary ran a yard for the other score for head coach Eric Gash’s crew.
Friday seemed a deja vu for the HHS-East Henderson rivalry as two former East linemen are Greenies stars, still clad in green and white but now for the all-boys Christian academy in Arden. They are tackle Austin “Tiny” Cooke who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 300 and 6-4, 286 guard Walker Lanning. Both got an extra year of eligibility, after transferring to the private school in just before last season.
Red-clad HHS counters with a former Eagle of its own in standout linebacker Trey McClure. He chuckled at the thought the game was an “Eagle reunion.” He made several crunching stops among his team-best eight solo tackles Friday. HHS recovered a fumble to squelch a long Greenies drive in the opening quarter.
Lanning was all-state among private school (NCISAA) players in his debut in 2013. This preseason, both former Eagles were N.C. Preps NCISAA all-state and Cooke was all-state for public and private school players. Cooke blocked HHS’ first extra point. They anchor the left side of a huge Greenie line.
Christ School (2-2), coached by Mark Moroz, beat HHS 20-14 at home last year to start this series. Sophomore Sage Holley, who averaged over 200 yards in two prior games, broke several key runs Friday. QB Landon Archangelo foiled the shutout with 7:20 to go, with a 5-yard TD pass to 6-5 Marcellos Allison.
This Friday, conference play begins as Hendersonville travels to Mountain Heritage (which beat West Henderson 40-21 Friday), in a Western Highlands contest. West (2-2) hosts North Henderson which like East Henderson looks for its first victory in 2014. East welcomes rugged Pisgah and former head coach Brett Chappell, also in WNC Athletic Conference action.