The Transylvania Times -

Blue Devils Open Conference Play Against Upstart Eagles - Brevard NC


October 4, 2018

The dress rehearsals are over. Now, it’s showtime.

After rattling off five straight dominating wins, the Brevard Blue Devils begin the gauntlet of the Mountain Six Conference schedule this Friday against a team that has already taken most of the mountains by surprise.

The East Henderson Eagles are in the midst of the one of the biggest turnarounds of the prep season.

At 5-1, East has already won more games this year than the past three seasons combined. They’re undefeated at home and hold a three-game winning streak.

And while Brevard (5-1) has put up bigger numbers against common opponents, the Blue Devils can’t take the Eagles lightly if they want to get off on the right foot going into conference play.

“The big thing about Friday is that it opens conference play and our conference is highly competitive. East has had a great year, so far. Coach (Justin) Heatherly has done a good job of getting that program on track and it should be a good game. I think every team in the conference has improved this year. So, it will be a challenge for us, and we’ll need to play a good game,” said Brevard head coach Craig Pritchett.

Despite losing starting quarterback Chris Hemphill to transfer, the Eagles offense hasn’t missed a beat – churning out an average of 31 points per game.

The offense is led by junior quarterback Garrett Adkinson, who has 1,072 yards passing this year, and has been careful with the ball, throwing eight touchdowns to just two interceptions. His go-to targets are Caleb Shipman and Tyler Pace, who have 831 yards receiving and nine TDs combined.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks. Brevard’s last game was a 44-0 rout over Chase, while the Eagles defeated Madison, 21-12, in a game that East led just 7-6 after the first half.

In terms of preparation, Pritchett said the team wasn’t doing anything different coming off the bye and is approaching this week like they would another other.

“This is a regular week for us. We’re consistent with our game week expectations and even the bye week was by no means a free week. We had the same intensity in practice and we’ve been fortunate to stay healthy. So, we’ll attack this week just like we normally would getting ready to play on Friday,” Pritchett said.

Given the Blue Devils’ results so far this year, the bye week was more focused on fine-tuning than a major overhaul.

“We really just looked at cleaning some things up. We still haven’t put four quarters together yet. So, there are obviously some things we need to iron out and the bye week gave us a chance to look at what those things are. As we look down the road and play stronger teams, we know what needs to be better and those areas are what we worked on,” he said.

Brevard hits the road to take on East almost a year to the day since they met in 2017. And for the Blue Devils, the scenario is the same – sitting with a 5-1 record going into Mountain Six play.

The conference got the better of the Blue Devils last season, as the team went 1-4, but Pritchett said there is a different vibe around this year’s squad and they are ready to embrace the challenge.

“We’re not comparing this team to last year’s. We’ve got a good thing going and there’s a different feeling around this team. The leaders are making plays and our message each week is to bring our A-game and play our best. The biggest game of the season is always next Friday. That’s how we attack each week,” Pritchett said.


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