Black Bears seek to take all their frustrations out on the KnightsPisgah to host North Henderson for homecoming at Memorial tonight
CANTON — North Henderson hasn’t ever beaten the Pisgah varsity football team. As a matter of fact, the Black Bears are 11-0 all-time in the series with the Knights.
But that perfect record against the Knights isn’t even on the minds of the Black Bears.
It’s homecoming tonight at Memorial Stadium and it will be a festive atmosphere as Pisgah plays host to visiting North Henderson, which arrives with a 1-7 overall record and 1-3 in the WNC Athletic Conference.
Despite suffering a gut-wrenching loss to rival Tuscola (24-21) in overtime last week, the Black Bears will try to put all that negative behind them and focus on putting a postive spin on their season by winning their homecoming contest.
In addition, Pisgah (2-6 overall, 1-3 WNCAC) will also try to turnaround its season and string three consecutive wins to end the regular season, qualify for the playoffs, win the conference’s No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
But first things first.
In order to finish the stretch run strong, Pisgah must beat North Henderson tonight.
“I told the team that ‘we have no choice in the matter, we have to put the Tuscola game behind us,’” said Pisgah Head Coach David Pressley. “‘We control our own destiny in the next three games. We will win the final three games, win our homecoming game, win the 2-A conference championship, qualify for the playoffs as a No. 1 seed and play at home for at least the first two rounds.’ And the kids have really responded. We have had a great week of practice. A really great, lively week. Besides, I told them if they have any frustrations still lingering, take it out on North Henderson.”
Coming in tonight’s homecoming game, the Black Bears rank third (8 games) in the WNCAC in scoring offense (27.3 points per game) and fourth in scoring defense (34.6 ppg).
The Black Bears are led by a remarkably talented two-headed offensive attack that features senior quarterback Josh Noland and junior QB McKinley Brown, who have combined for 1,528 yards in total offense and 19 TDs. But Pisgah may be without the services of linebacker Trevor Bailey, who leads the defense with 38.5 total tackles. He sustained a concussion last week against Tuscola.
North Henderson ranks sixth in the WNCAC in scoring offense (17.3 points per game) and the Knight’s offensive attack revolves around the multiple talents of quarterback/free safety/kicker Zack Gahagan, who has already committed to play baseball at the University of North Carolina. The 6-foot-1 junior averages 169.7 yards passing and 48 yards on the ground.
But the Knight’s defense is another story. The unit is pourous and is ranked sixth (8 games) in the WNCAC in scoring defense (38.3 ppg).
Pisgah can not afford a lethargic start tonight. Playing catch up with the Gahagan-led Knights could ruin homecoming and send the Black Bears spiraling downward. The Black Bears’ defense has been solid stopping the run over the last three games, while the secondary has been a major problem in defending the pass.
And the thought of Gahagan picking apart the secondary is scary.
“We’re doing some things differently on defense just because of (Gahagan),” said Pressley.
However, Pressley is a master motivator. And telling his team they can “take out their frustrations on North Henderson” may prove to be the best remedy to jump start his Black Bears for the stretch run.