Pisgah’s gunslinger throws school record eight TD passes in routSenior QB’s performance second best in state history and one shy from tying NCHSAA record
CANTON — Throughout Friday night’s WNC Athletic Conference football regular season finale at Memorial Stadium, quarterback McKinley Brown picked apart a seemingly helpless Brevard secondary en route to throwing for a school-record eight touchdown passes on 16 completions.
Riding the arm of its senior gunslinger and a suffocating defense, Pisgah crushed the visiting Blue Devils, 59-0, in recording its third shutout of the season.
“McKinley played a phenomenal game,” said Pisgah Head Coach Brett Chappell. “He has been steady for us all year. (Jesse) Anderson also played very well. He was one that we talked to earlier in the week that we needed him to step up and play much better.
“(Hunter) Wike was again very solid for us on both sides of the ball as well as Trevor (Johnson) and (Jesse) Martinez. I just thought that we were solid on the offensive side and that because of Brown.
“Defensively, well, I just love the fact there were no points on the visitor’s side of the scoreboard. The defense just simply did a great job.”
More importantly, the Black Bears (8-3, 8-2 playoffs, 5-2 WNCAC) won the conference’s top seed for the upcoming 3-A playoffs. Brevard dropped to 5-6 overall, 5-5 playoffs, 3-4 WNCAC).
Brown broke former Pisgah standout Zach Jaynes’ school record of six touchdown passes set twice in 2006.
The eight scoring strikes were also the second best for a single game in state high school history. Wakefield High’s Connor Mitch had nine TD passes in a 70-42 win against Raleigh Broughton on Oct. 19, 2012.
The previous state record was seven by Lumberton’s Buddy Fuller (vs. St. Paul’s) in 2001.
Throughout the week, Chappell asked his seniors one question, “How are you going to be remembered?”
He even had the question put on a plaque and mounted on top of the breezeway from which his Black Bears enter the field.
“I’m going to enjoy this win and I told our kids to enjoy it,” said Chappell. “We had to sit on a tough loss for seven days and to get back on the field and to play the way we did is very rewarding. The loss to Smoky was a big wake call up for our seniors, especially since we preached about ‘how will you be remembered?’ They wanted to make sure that they will be remember for something great and I think that they took care of that (tonight).”
Brown’s response, however, was a memorable two-and-a-half quarter performance. He threw seven of his eight touchdown passes in a 52-point first half, completed 16-of-23 passes for 384 yards and rushed for 41 yards to amass 425 yards in total offense, which was the second time this season he surpassed the 400 yard mark.
But Brown will also be remembered for one of the most productive regular seasons for a quarterback in school history. In 11 games, he has completed 71.8 percent of his passes for 2,601 yards with 32 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.
Senior receiver Jesse Anderson caught three touchdown passes (34, 20, 15 yards), Hunter Wike (43, 9 yards) and Trevor Johnson (10, 48 yards) caught a pair of TD passes, while Lucas Hall (29 yards) hauled in one.
Wike caught five passes for 123 yards and finished the 11-game regular season with 40 receptions for a team-high 933 yards and 15 TDs. Anderson, who hauled in four passes for 69 yards, has caught 55 passes for 856 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Leading the Black Bears on the ground was Hunter Sluder, who rushed for 67 yards on nine carries.
Pisgah had 541 yards in total offense compared to the Blue Devils 109.
The smothering Black Bears’ defense, which allowed 47 yards in the first half, intercepted one pass, caused seven fumbles and recovered five.
Junior linebacker Colton Shuler caused four of the seven fumbles and recovered one. Anderson had the interception.
The Black Bears stopped the Blue Devils 14 times for negative yards on 33 offensive snaps in a shortened game as the second half used a running clock.
“The defense fed off of each other and that was the thing that I thought that we missed last week,” said Chappell. “We didn’t have the energy and I am at fault for that. But (tonight) we did and they fed off each other the entire game. It was a cold night, but it certainly did not look like it on the field by the way our kids where playing, tackling and flying around the ball.
“I was impressed with the defense’s play against the run. But they have been tough against the run all season. As we go into the playoffs, we are going to face teams that are going to have a good rushing attack. We have to make sure that we take care of our business on that end without neglecting our pass defense.”