Pisgah grounds the JetsVan Vaerenbergh and Johnson combine for 248 rushing yards
ENKA — Head Coach Brett Chappell wanted to get senior Trevor Johnson and junior Daniel Van Vaerenbergh more touches in Friday night’s non-conference game at Enka.
The two running backs made their head coach look good.
The diminutive Van Vaerenbergh (5-8, 145), who sports the nickname “The Count,” rushed for a career-best 144 yards on just 12 carries and scored twice, while Johnson also finished with a career-high 104 yards on 17 carries and scored one TD to help the Black Bears to a 38-3 win over Enka at Jets Stadium.
“The one thing that people don’t realize is that we are a very young team,” said Chappell. “We don’t have very many seniors that are starters on either side of ball. The big thing for us is to get some confidence. I think we finally got a little bit of that and some momentum. The kids started believing in themselves.
“It has been a long week of practice and it is nice to be able to come away with a win so they can see all the hard work they did paid off.”
“We have several very talented backs. And all three did a great job. But it was the guys up front that certainly did a much better job and I am certainly proud of those guys as well.”
Pisgah’s offense, which did not produce any points in the season opening loss to North Buncombe, looked like a completely different unit against the winless Jets (0-2). The Black Bears amassed 278 yards on the ground and 91 yards passing to finish with 369 yards in total offense.
More importantly to Chappell, his offense produced four rushing touchdowns, one through the air and four two-point conversions.
Pisgah got off to a quick start and took an 8-0 lead when Johnson scored on a one-yard run and added the two-point conversion with 9:37 left in the first quarter.
Less than three minutes later, senior receiver Cole Anderson made an entertaining circus catch of senior quarterback Lucas Hall’s pass at the nine with two Enka defenders draped over him and ran it into the end zone to complete a 36-yard scoring strike to give Pisgah a 16-0 lead with 6:59 left in the opening quarter.
Late in the first quarter and in the same spot of the field where he caught his TD, Anderson also went over an Enka receiver, intercepting quarterback Hunter Graham’s pass before returning the pick 22 yards.
“Coming off the loss,” said Anderson, “we had to make a few changes at practice this week and we came out and executed a lot better. But we were a little slow out of the gate. I am glad we found ourselves (tonight.).”
With 1:55 left before halftime, Van Vaerenbergh struck for his first of two touchdown runs when he rushed in from the 10 and Johnson ran in the conversion to give the Black Bears a 24-0 lead.
Paul Arambula kicked a 26-yard field goal as the first half expired for the Jets’ only points in the game.
It would be the last good news for Enka, as Pisgah’s “Bearnado” defense shutdown Jets for the remainder of the game — allowing just 175 total yards for the game (33 yards in the first half).
“Our defense is just hunker down and playing well right now,” said Chappell.
There was no scoring in the third quarter. But with 8:51 left in the game, sophomore fullback Michael Parrott scored his first touchdown as a Black Bear when he bowled over from the one. Hall completed his two-point conversion pass to sophomore Isaiah Fisher to give Pisgah an insurmountable 32-3 lead.
Despite nine Jets in the box as the Black Bears were trying to run out the clock from their 18 yard line, Van Vaerenbergh broke free through the middle, shook down and made two Enka defenders miss and raced untouched to the end zone for an 82-yard touchdown run.
“I was just trying to do my best on every carry,” said Van Vaerenbergh. “The offensive line does it all. I just run.”
Hall (minus 1-yard rushing on six carries) finished 6-of-15 for 91 yards with one touchdown In addition to Van Vaerenbergh and Johnson, Parrott had 31 tough yards on 11 carries.
Pisgah 28, Enka 6
CANTON — The Pisgah JV football team rushed for 194 yards (104 in the first half) as the junior Black Bears defeated visiting Enka, 28-6, in their season opener at Memorial Stadium Thursday night.
Pisgah built a 21-0 lead by halftime, thanks to three short touchdown runs and a smothering defense, which allowed the junior Jets just 54 yards in total offense in the first two quarters.
Pisgah got three rushing TDs to take a 21-0 halftime lead. In the first quarter, quarterback Houston Rogers scored on a 13-yard run and Lakota Burnette had a 2-yard touchdown run, while Zack Scott bolted in from the eight with 8:06 left in the first half.
Carlos Mendoza was true on all three point after tries in the first half.
The junior Black Bears went ahead 28-0 after Brady Conner scampers 30 yards for a touchdown (Mendoza PAT) with 8:12 left in the game.
Conner led all rushers with 103 yards on 14 carries, while Rogers finished 5-of-9 for 37 yards.
Burnette, who rushed for 26 yards (seven carries) caught two passes for 28 yards.
Enka scored to ruin Pisgah’s shutout bid with 31.1 seconds left in the game on a Jason Fabio to Bryson Allen 15-yard pass.
The next game for Pisgah will be a non-conference road junior varsity game at Erwin on Thursday, Sept. 4.