Michael Schmidt has been to Cooperstown, thank you very much.
The Hendersonville rising senior fondly recalled a family vacation to the baseball hall of fame on Thursday. It came during a break in the action for Schmidt and the Bearcats at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes 7-on-7 tournament hosted by Roberson.
Schmidt (3,004 yards and 30 touchdowns with eight interceptions) is the top returning passer in Western North Carolina high school football.
He is not the hall of fame third baseman and 12-time All-Star for the Philadelphia Phillies whose career spanned 1972 to 1989.
“I’m not really sure how my name came about and if there is any connection or not,” Schmidt said.
“I did get to see (the exhibit for Mike Schmidt) when we were in Cooperstown and I’ve even worn his number (20) in the past when I play baseball.”
The local version of Michael Schmidt is making his name known, and has been for some time.
Schmidt sat out Hendersonville’s first football game in 2014 (a 49-14 loss at Asheville High) with a concussion, and yet the first-year varsity quarterback still managed to set school records for single-season passing yardage and touchdowns.
Schmidt averaged 273.1 yards a game and threw for more than 300 on a half-dozen occasions. He accumulated 464 yards in a 57-54 shootout loss at Western Highlands Conference champion Owen, and had 495 the month before that in a 46-43 defeat at Mountain Heritage.
The Mountain Heritage game is officially recognized as the second-highest total in WNC history behind Enka alum Taylor McCurry’s 2010 game versus Asheville High (507 yards).
Schmidt attempted 271 passes as a junior and completed 151 of them. With his size (6-foot-3, 196 pounds) and academic standing as one of Hendersonville’s top students from the Class of 2016, Schmidt should have some college options. But it doesn’t necessarily have to go an athletic route, he said Thursday.
“I want to play college sports and I’ve been talking to a lot of people, including the Naval Academy,” Schmidt said.
“Hopefully something will happen. But if it doesn’t work out, that’s OK. Academics come first with me.”
Schmidt is one of eight returning offensive starters for second-year Bearcats coach Eric Gash who went 7-5 overall and 3-3 in the WHC last fall.
“It helps when your quarterback is not only a great player, but a great person,” Gash said.
“Hopefully, we can pick up right where we left off even though we lost some players like Cole Cleary (a former All-WNC receiver and incoming Wofford freshman) who you can’t replace.”
Hendersonville isn’t taking it easy this season. The Bearcats open up with a Aug. 21 trip to Murphy.
The Bulldogs have won two state championships since 2011 and have the winningest coach in WNC histiory in David Gentry (356 victories).