Cagle returns, Black Hawks down PisgahBlack Bears’ offense held scoreless, North Buncombe gets first victory in series since 1999
CANTON — Curtis Cagle, who graduated from Pisgah High in 1986 and was once an assistant football and head baseball coach at his alma mater, was a happy man after the season opener Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
But he was the only Pisgah alum happy after the game.
Cagle, who is in his third year as the head coach for North Buncombe, led his Black Hawks to a stunning 16-6 victory over Pisgah, despite missing a starting running back (concussion) and a wide receiver (knee injury).
“I have so much respect for Pisgah,” said Cagle. “But this was an amazing and unbelievable win for our kids. My staff coached their butts off and my kids played the same way.”
The only points scored in the first 44:23 of the non-conference game was a 33-yard field goal by junior Tommy Apostolopoulos with 23.2 seconds left in the first half to give North Buncombe a 3-0 lead.
However, the two teams combined to score 19 points in the final 3:37 on the contest.
The Black Bears’ offense sputtered the entire game and if not for a defensive gem by junior safety Garrett Jones, Pisgah would have suffered its first shutout since the 2011 season (42-0 loss at A.C. Reynolds).
“Enka did some things that Owen (scrimmage) did against us,” said Chappell. “They kind of rolled the dice on us and took a chance of locking us down and coming after us. We just got beat on the offensive side.
With 3:37 left in the game, North Buncombe faced a third and nine situation from its own 11. Junior quarterback Chase Parker, who completed 22-of-42 for 194 yards, had his pass picked off by Jones at the 12, who quickly raced untouched into the end zone giving Pisgah its first lead of the game, 6-3.
The Black Bears’ offense failed on its two point conversion, which was the statement of the night — no points scored.
North Buncombe shifted gears from consuming the clock to looking for a quick strike.
With 2:21 left to go in the game, Parker completed his most important pass of the game when he connected with junior receiver Ricky Thrash on a 55-yard touchdown to give North Buncombe a 10-6 lead following Apostolopoulos successful PAT.
In the ensuing possession, the Black Hawks’ Logan Anderson picked off Pisgah senior quarterback Lucas Hall’s pass over the middle at the 19 and returned it for a touchdown with 1:31 left on the clock. The point after try missed as the disappointed packed home stands started to file out of the stadium. While the visitors side began to celebrate.
Thrash finished with 12 receptions for 120 yards.”
“I thought our defense played well enough for us to win the ballgame,” said Chappell. “They certainly gave us the lead. But offensively, we just struggle to protect our quarterback. We just could not give him time to get it off. You know as a coach we got to make some better adjustments and that falls on me on things that we can help ourselves out with.
Coming into the game, Pisgah was 9-0 in the series with North Buncombe and even outscored the Black Hawks, 169-0, in its four previous meetings.
The Black Bears finished with a three-yard advantage over North Buncombe in total offense, 259-256. Pisgah rushed for just 72 yards and passed for 187, while the Black Hawks rushed for just 58 yards and passed for 198.
Pisgah was also hurt by 12 penalties for 120 yards, including a controversial call of targeting on senior Trevor Johnson, who was ejected early in the second quarter. North Buncombe was penalized 11 times for 88 yards. Both offenses moved the chains 14 times each.
In addition, junior standout Jesse Martinez went down with an injury late in the third quarter and never returned.
“Losing Trevor and Jesse was two big blows to our team,” said Chappell. “We had some good things that happen and we did move the ball down inside the 30 yard line. It just seems we got all the bad breaks tonight. Those are things that hopefully we overcome. Obviously it is early, it is first game, an endowment game, but we got to get things turned around before we get into conference.
“We got some things to iron out defensively and obviously we got to check on the status of Jesse (Martinez). But agan, I thought defensively we played well. I thought those guys gave us a chance to win at the end but we could not punch it in offensively. It takes all facets of the game, special teams, offense and defense. Unfortunately, we were running on one cylinder instead of all three.”
For Pisgah, Hall completed 10-of-24 passes for 187 yards, His favorite targets were sophomore Isaiah Fisher (five receptions for 87 yards) and senior Cole Anderson (two catches for 44 yards.
On the ground, junior Daniel Van Vaerenbergh led the Black Bears with 50 yards on 15 carries. Hall had 16 carries for a minus-14 yards.
The winless Black Bears (0-1) will try and regroup this week before it travels to Enka to play the winless Jets (0-1) on Friday, Aug. 29.