Brown sets school record in win over KnightsSenior quarterback finishes with 466 total yards of offense
EDNEYVILLE — Senior quarterback McKinley Brown passed for a career-best 411 yards and missed breaking Zach Jaynes’ school record of 421 yards passing for a single game.
However, Brown also rushed for 23 yards and caught a pass for 32 yards in a 35-6 win at North Henderson Friday night to finish with 466 yards in total offense, which broke Jaynes’ school record of 448 total yards set in the same game in 2004.
“We were ready for them,” said Brown, “we just did not execute very well offensively in the first quarter. I think our slow start can be contributed to a little bit of a hangover from the great win over our rival last week and the bitter cold weather.
“But we kept grinding and got it going, which is a sign of a very good team. It feels great to be in this position in our senior year. I know that it is not the end but getting on a roll like this and getting hot just before the playoffs is exciting. But we can't think ahead, we got Smoky Mountain next week.”
Led by Brown, Pisgah, secured the WNCAC’s No. 1 seed for the 3-A playoffs, improving to 7-2 overall, 7-1 for the 3-A playoffs and 4-1 in the conference.
“Got to credit North Henderson’s defense, they played well in the first half,” said Pisgah Head Coach Brett Chappell. “But we made a couple of blocking scheme adjustments at halftime that helped us out and we were able to get our wide receivers open more in the second half.
“And speaking of our receivers, I thought Trevor (Johnson), Jesse (Anderson), (Jesse) Martinez and (Hunter) Wike were just simply outstanding and McKinley did a great job distributing the ball. He put up impressive numbers, and again, he had no interceptions.
“Defensively, I thought we played really well until we gave up the one score late in the game. Not happy with that one because I think we got a little bit lazy. But I am very excited for the way our kids played and sitting at 7-1, I think we got a strong push left in us for the final two games and a chance to have at least a couple of home playoff games.”
Brown, who has thrown for 2,001 yards this season, completed 27-of-35 passes (both career-highs) and had 188 yards passing in the first half, 267 yards and one TD strike in the second half. He did not play the final seven minutes of the game.
The main benefactors from Brown’s record-setting, career-best performance was his receiving corps, including senior Jesse Anderson, who also had a career night.
Anderson caught a career-high 13 passes for a career-high 223 yards. He was three receptions and 33 yards shy from breaking Josh Cockrell’s single-game school records 15 receptions and 255 yards receiving, which ironically, was set in a conference game against West Henderson in 2006.
“Coach Chappell stressed all week how important it is for us to be focused and finish strong,” said Anderson. “McKinley just kept putting the balls where we needed it. He makes it easy on us because he is so accurate with his passes.”
Wike had seven receptions for 117 yards, Johnson caught four passes for 37 yards and Martinez had four receptions for 40 yards.
Pisgah finished with 455 yards passing against North Henderson. Martinez had one completion for three yards to Anderson, who completed a pass to Brown for 32 yards and backup quarterback Lucas Hall completed one pass to Donnie Mamph for nine yards in the fourth quarter.
The Black Bears struggled on the ground against the Knights, rushing for 78 yards on 35 carries. Hall had 23 yards on 15 yards, senior Dylan Hannah had 22 yards and Brown gained 23 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, Pisgah held North in check for most of the game. Despite allowing a 67-yard touchdown run with 7:13 left in the fourth quarter, the Black Bears gave up just 160 yards (73 rushing, 87 passing) in total offense.
Hall also had two interceptions and senior Vadrey Crouch picked off one pass.
Pisgah took a 7-0 lead with 11:53 left in the second quarter on a Brown 11-yard touchdown run. Senior placekicker Nathan Higdon kicked a 25-yard field goal 10 minutes later and a 38-yard field at the end of the first half to give the Black Bears a 13-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Hall scored on a three-yard run (Martinez two-point conversion pass to Wike) and Brown connected with Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown pass to give Pisgah a 28-0 lead.
With 7:31 left in the game, Hannah carried four Knights into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown run to give Pisgah a 35-0 lead.
The Black Bears travel to Sylva to play at Smoky Mountain (5-4, 3-2 WNCAC) on Friday, Nov. 1.
“Excited to come back to Henderson County and get this win," said Chappell. "Now, we go back to the house (tonight) and get warmed up and get ready for Smoky next week. I think it is going to be a heck of a game with the Mustangs.”