East QB Kyle Frady (10) heaves a long completion, avoiding James Dillon’s sack. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Swift Eagles spread wings in return to spread offense
“This is the most complete game by our defense in a while,” HHS head coach Eric Gash proudly said. “Our big boys played well up front. We made plays” such as a safety and four interceptions. Tykel Landrum made the first pick; he had seven last season.
HHS also clicked on offense, reaching 400 yards. Quarterback Mike Schmidt ran two yards for the opening score. He connected with speedy Landrum who out-leaped three others for a 51-yard touchdown grab, later with Michael Cook for an 18-yard scoring play and 29-8 halftime edge. Schmidt’s usual accuracy is coming along, as he gradually overcomes a shoulder impingement.
Nakeem Brooks cuts his way to a 97-yard kickoff TD, for East’s sole score Friday. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Leon Cooks was very impressive as new feature back, with Terrold Gary injured. Cooks ran hard. He rushed 18 yards for a TD. Quintin Wright scooted ten yards for a TD. Drew Eudy drilled field goals of 37 and 25 yards.
“It’s great to get one in the win column,” Schmidt said, and to “work the kinks out” before conference games begin.
The Eagles rolled in mid-2014, winning three WNC Athletic Conference games in a row including by 23 over North Henderson. That showed “we can compete and win,” second-year head coach John “Mac” McMillan said. He looks again for a jump-start.
The HHS-East series has been a decade-long track meet. East returns swift skill starters, and reverts to the spread attack. The Eagles hope talented parts click more consistently, behind a new line.
Speed was apparent with Nakeem Brooks’ 97-yard kickoff return for East’s sole TD Friday. Brooks deftly zig-zagged between Bearcat defenders right to left across the middle of the field. A two-point conversion made it 22-8, with 4:40 left in the second quarter.
“We’ll spread out our athletes,” with usually one back, Coach Mac said. Bashing Cole Revis (6-0 1/2, 181 sr.) was East’s main ground weapon Friday. East does best with a speed-power rushing combo. The Eagles will often go with the “hot hand,” Mac said. TB Revis rushed for 601 yards (5.6 ypc.) as a fullback in 2014, while fast H-back Nick Lyons (5-10, 152 sr.) netted 561 (5.8 ypc.) and five scores.
Major playmakers lead the receiving corps. H-back Lyons often lines up in the slot. In ’14, he scored on (six) one-third of his receptions, averaging 19 yards. Top wideout Josh Glynn (5-10, 150 sr.) tallied 14.7 yards on 23 catches. He intercepted Schmidt early Friday.
Flanker Brooks (5-10, 150 sr.), former RB with a speed-power mix, has WNCAC player of the year potential, Mac said. Darren Osbourne (6-3, 197 jr.) earned slot starts.
Wide open Josh Glynn leaps to snare Kyle Frady’s long pass. Photo by Pete Zamplas
The main Eagle drama is at quarterback, which Coach Mac indicated is again up for grabs. “We’ll watch the film, and reevaluate,” he said. Bulked-up Kyle Frady (6-2, 232 sr.) took over from Trace Goldsmith (6-1 1/2, 210 sr.) in the second half, and moved the ball well at times in his first game since recovering from an injury.
Frady threw on a full-tilt scramble to hit ace receiver Josh Glynn on a bomb in the final quarter. He had a long scoring TD nullified by penalty, in further flashing passing potential.
Goldsmith made a golden throw against the grain. He charged to near the left sideline at the 20 to avoid a sack, then heaved the ball 30 yards down that sideline to Josh Glynn at midfield.
Both main QBs are strong and determined. Goldsmith made many runs up the gut last year, without hesitation and with vigor. Now he rolls out more. Rival coaches call him gritty. He started the first three games. He may have the stronger arm, and more upside as a passer. He was energetic but erratic Friday as passing accuracy and consistency are major challenges for Eagle throwers. Lanky lefty QB Preston Owens (6-1 1/2 jr., 153 jr.) led JV in ’14.
As for intangibles, athletic Frady has “fieriness,” Coach Mac said. Goldsmith also “has a great attitude. We roll him out. We’ll cater to their strengths. If the quarterback keeps on the move, our (new) linemen don’t have to hold blocks as long. And the defense won’t (as easily) put eight in the ‘box.’”
Coach Mac is praised for fairness and guidance. He was Mars Hill College offensive line coach, after a sterling prep career in Georgia for 17 years. In Chappell’s last year here, in 2012, the Eagles were 11-2 and unbeaten in the WNCAC. The line was zapped by graduation and defections in ‘13, before Mac’s arrival.
Line starters are center Jay Spencer (6-2, 190 sr.), LT Jared Ward (6-3, 203 sr.), LG Marshall Frank (5-7, 223 jr.), RG Ethan Eubanks (6-1, 191 sr.) and RT Tyler Buckner (6-2, 252 sr.). Caleb Wycoff (6-1, 200 sr.) and Luke McCall (6-4, 200 jr.) give depth.
The kicker is freshman Chris Hernandez (5-5 1/2, 139).
The defense shifts to a multiple 4-4, from 3-5-3. Starters are DBs Glynn, Brooks and Beau Shealy (5-10, 145 jr.); LBs Revis, all-WNCAC Lyons, Coal Webb (6-0, 185 sr.) and Blake Hyder (6-3 1/2, 176 sr.); and DL Clark Rummage (6-3, 255 jr.), Aaron Owensby (5-9, 160 sr.), Osbourne and Andrew Morgan (6-1, 220 sr.).
Keys are to “play hard every play, and eliminate mistakes,” Coach McMillan said. “Then we’ll compete, and be in the games.”
East is off, hoping like HHS it returns to action with its first win. Its next three contests are away — at Polk Sept. 18, Pisgah and former head coach Brett Chappell, then North Oct. 2. East had bad timing. HHS was extra determined, after its 42-14 loss to West. T.C. Roberson similarly got its first win of 2015 on E.L. Justus Field, Aug. 28 after dropping its home opener to North Henderson.
North (2-1) barely lost 28-24 to Swain Friday, and has been “rolling,” Gash said. The Tribune’s four-week team preview series concludes next week, profiling the Knights after their huge showdown at HHS this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
West (2-0) was off on Apple Festival weekend. The Falcons are the lone unbeaten team in Henderson County. They have the jump on North for the unofficial county crown, by already beating HHS. North hosts West Sept. 25.