Hendersonville preview: Bearcats look like WHC favorite

Hendersonville preview: Bearcats look like WHC favorite


Hendersonville preview: Bearcats look like WHC favorite


Hendersonville quarterback Michael Schmidt passed for 2,975 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.

Hendersonville quarterback Michael Schmidt passed for 2,975 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.

HENDERSONVILLE – For a proud, traditionally strong program like Hendersonville High, bouncing back is not a normal goal in preseason.

But for the Bearcats, coming off a 7-5 mark (3-3 and tied for third in the Western Highlands Conference) in their first season under coach Eric Gash, there is a lot of optimism that 2015 will be a much more successful year.

Most coaches in the seven-team league pick Hendersonville as the favorite in an always competitive conference in which five schools have won outright or shared a regular-season title in the past five years.

“That surprises me, but we’ll take it,” Gash said with a laugh.

The former Bearcats’ standout who also played at North Carolina, Gash has a load of offensive weapons, led by quarterback Michael Schmidt.

WNC’s leading returning passer, Schmidt completed 151-of-272 passes last season. He threw for 2,975 yards and 26 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.

The athletic senior also ran 11 times for 367 yards and six scores.

“Michael’s the real deal. He has a big arm and we expect a great season from him,” said Gash, whose older brother Sam played running back at Hendersonville, Penn State and won a Super Bowl in the NFL and now coaches with the Green Bay Packers.

Schmidt’s options in the spread offense include seniors at running back (Terrold Gary, 733 yards, nine touchdowns) and receiver (Michael Cook , 21 catches, 542 yards, seven scores).

Top returning receiver Tykel Landrum (28 receptions, 291 yards, four TDs) is also back.

Defensively, the loss of junior Demetrius Smith to a hip injury will hurt, but the Bearcats have leading returning tackler Trey McClure (107 stops) at linebacker.

Gash is also looking for strong defensive play from five returning starters, including free safety Landrum and junior defensive tackles Blaine Sharpe and Dominique Daniels.

“We hope we can pick up where we left off last year, when we really played well late in the year,” said Gash.

“There are a lot of good teams in this conference, and you’re dealing with teenagers, so sometimes you never know day to day.”

The Bearcats haven’t won a WHC title since the 2012 squad went undefeated through league play, and Gash said he expects several schools to provide provide stiff challenges.

“(Coach) Joey (Robinson) always does a great job at Mountain Heritage, and Polk County always has a good team, they are so consistent,” he said. “And Mitchell has a lot of talent back off a real good team. So we just hope to stay healthy and be there at the end.”


Conference: Western Highlands 2A/1A.
Coach: Eric Gash.
Offense: Spread.
Defense: 4-4.
2014 Record: 7-5, 3-3.
Returning starters: 13 (eight offense, five defense).
Predicted finish: 1st.


No. | Player | Position | Year

1 Mason Hudson WR/CB 11

3 Jhon Salguero LB/RB 11

4 Alex Williford N/A 10

4 Tyrese Cauley WR/DE 10

5 Shyrone Featherstone QB/RB/WR 10

5 Tyler Landrum QB/WR/LB 12

6 Demetrius Smith CB/WR 11

7 Tykel Landrum WR/FS 10

9 Michael Cochran N/A 11

10 Grant Moss WR/CB 10

10 Samuel Browne N/A 12

11 Trey McClure LB/NG 12

12 Michael Cook WR/FS 12

17 Drew Eudy K/P 11

18 Mike Schmidt QB/WR/LB 12

20 Samuel Lucas N/A 11

20 Terrold Gary RB/CB 12

22 Jaylen Mills LB/FB 10

24 Terry McCurdy CB/FS 11

25 Quintin Wright RB/WR/CB 10

32 Leon Cooks WR/LB 11

33 Tully Graziano FB/LB 12

40 Alex Street WR/CB 10

50 Maliek Robinson DE/G 12

51 Blaine Sharpe DT 11

52 Ramon Waters G/DT 12

53 William Avery G/DT 12

54 James Jackson DE/T 11

56 James Dillon N/A 11

57 Griffin Boeke LS/DE 12

58 Greyson Rogers LB/RB 11

58 Shawn Pearce DE/RB 10

61 Samuel Ledford N/A 11

61 Wyatt Holbert G/DT 10

62 Chance Wilson C/DT 12

62 Chun Waters DT/G 10

70 Freddie Moore G/DT 11

72 Mitchell McKenney DT/G 10

73 Michael Crotts T/DT 12

77 Jerry Mahle G/DT 10

79 Jake Barber C/DE 10

80 Daniel Pearce LB/WR 10

N/A: Not Listed


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