Passing attack, stingy defense prevail in Bears rout of JacketsAnderson has outstanding night wearing Messer’s number
CANTON — Once the Pisgah varsity football team learned of senior captain Dustin Messer’s season-ending knee injury, they promptly decided his jersey would be worn by a different senior every Friday night for the remainder of the season.
The first player chosen to wear No. 2 was senior Jesse Anderson, who was questionable after suffering an ankle injury a week ago.
Prior to kickoff, Anderson told the coaching staff if he was going to honor his teammate, he was going to play and not stand on the sidelines.
And boy did he play!
Wearing Messer’s jersey, Anderson appeared to be all over the field, catching a career-high 10 passes, nine in the first half, for 94 yards, hauling in two touchdown passes, punting four times for an impressive 50.25 yard average, intercepting a pass, batting down three others and returning two punts for 30 yards in Pisgah’s 46-0 non-conference rout of Hayesville at Memorial Stadium Friday night.
The Black Bears improve to 3-1 overall and 3-0 for playoff purposes. They will be idle next Friday night before kicking off the WNCAC hosting East Henderson on Friday, Sept. 27.
Led by Anderson, Pisgah threw for 261 yards, while the Black Bears’ defense allowed the Yellow Jackets just 108 yards in total offense.
Pisgah’s defense also forced Hayesville in three-and-outs on their first five possessions, recovered four fumbles and intercepted three passes.
“I am really pleased with the defense,” said Pisgah Head Coach Brett Chappell. “Coach (Ricky) Brindley and those coaches have done a great job preparing these guys. I can’t brag enough on them holding a team scoreless and I just thought they played a really good game tonight.”
Probably the only negative for the Black Bears in the win were the flags as Pisgah was penalized 13 times for 75 yards, which brings its season total through the first four games to 48.
“Offensively, well, it’s obvious we are still making adjustments because of the injury to Dustin,” said Chappell. “We will continue to get better and I am sure glad we got an open week so we can kind of bare down and decide exactly what we need to do in our backfield. I know we got too many penalties again, but the good thing with that is we didn’t get one personal foul. So, we are cleaning them up a little bit at a time.”
Pisgah senior quarterback McKinley Brown finished 18-of-28 for 254 yards with four TD passes and he rushed for 65 yards to account for 319 of the 338 yards in total offense.
The Black Bears took a 7-0 lead with 7:34 left in the first quarter when Brown hooked up with senior Hunter Wike on a 30-yard TD pass and senior Nathan Higdon kicked the PAT.
Then Pisgah scored three more times in the second quarter to take a 25-0 halftime lead.
With 11:09 left in the first half, Brown found Anderson for a 35-yard touchdown pass (two-point conversion by sophomore Jesse Martinez), and again the seniors hooked up for a five-yard touchdown pass (Higdon PAT) with 1:41 left before the half.
Three plays later on Hayesville’s ensuing possession, Pisgah junior Lucas Hall’s interception set up Higdon’s 26-yard field goal with 1.8 seconds left in the half.
Junior Trevor Johnson contributed two touchdowns in the win. He scored on a four-yard run with 8:38 left in the third quarter and recovered a fumble in the end zone with less than nine minutes in the game.
Martinez hauled in a 40-yard TD pass from Brown midway through the third quarter.