For years now, Enka football’s bread and butter has been passing.
Michael Cantrell was adept enough at running back to entirely change that offensive philosophy. The senior committed to Mars Hill over the weekend.
Cantrell was one of the top-10 leading rushers in Western North Carolina last season — the All-Mountain Athletic Conference running back carried the ball 219 times for 1,422 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also made 12 receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown for the Jets (1-10).
Cantrell was this school year’s first recipient of the Mission Health Spotlight Performance of the Week award. He piled up 308 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 48-47 double-overtime win over visiting Owen on Aug. 21.
It was only the second season-opening win for Enka football since 2008.
Cantrell is expected to sign with the Lions on Tuesday afternoon. And when it’s official, he will become the eighth WNC member of this incoming recruiting class for Mars Hill along with teammate Bryson Buckner, East Henderson’s Trace Lovingood and Jay Spencer, Pisgah’s David Mackey, Reynolds’ Aundreas Hill and Najae Buchanan and Swain County’s Jordan Cody.
Cantrell is more than just a football player.
He was a member of the Citizen-Times All-WNC wrestling team (at 152 pounds) and part of the Jets’ first-ever state championship squad. They won the NCHSAA 3-A tournament held Feb. 18-20 in Greensboro.
Cantrell (51-11) was the 3-A Western Regional and MAC champion before going on to place sixth at the NCHSAA 3-A tournament. His career record for Enka was 132-48 with 76 pins.