The Transylvania Times -

Brevard Beats Hendersonville, Hosts Pisgah For Title

 

October 29, 2018

Keenen Hawkins had a great game filling in as Brevard's backup QB against Hendersonville. The senior finished 12-of-20 for 160 yards and two touchdowns. (Times photos by Jeremiah Reed) CLICK PHOTO FOR GALLERY WITH MORE PHOTOS AND PURCHASE OPTIONS

Solid defense. A balanced offense. Big plays on special teams.

The Brevard Blue Devils got back to their winning recipe Friday night as they built on a 10-point halftime lead to come away with a 45-31 win over the Hendersonville Bearcats.

Brevard's win was highlighted by the effort of backup quarterback Keenen Hawkins. Stepping up in place of injured starter Mitchell Johnson, Hawkins was as cool as could be against the Bearcat defense.

He finished with two touchdowns, no turnovers and came up with several big third-down conversions.

"You have to say hats off to the offense, especially with a backup quarter and other players elevating their game, to put 45 points on the board," said head coach Craig Pritchett after the win.

Brevard needed every one of those 45 points, as the game was more shootout than chess match.

The Bearcats got the opening kickoff and didn't waste any time, marching 60 yards in less than two minutes and scoring off a 35-yard touchdown grab from Kalin Ensley. The PAT made it 7-0 with 10:15 to go in the quarter.

A big return on the kickoff by Luke Ellenberger gave the offense great field position at the Hendersonville 27.

Facing third-and-six, Hawkins completed a pass to Breylan Owens, moving the ball to the Hendersonville 6-yard line. Two plays later, Hawkins hit Kane Deshauteurs with a short dump pass for Brevard's opening score.

Aiden Green's PAT tied things up at 7-7 with 8:06 left in the quarter.

After the Bearcats went three-and-out, Ellenberger came up with another big return, this time on a punt that gave Brevard the ball at Hendersonville's 36.

Brevard plugged away on the ground, as Anthony Fields and DK Deshauteurs carried the load.

A 13-yard pitch to Fields moved the ball inside the red zone. Three plays later, Deshauteurs wriggled his way up the middle and dove in from four yards out to put Brevard ahead 14-7 with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter.

Ellenberger intercepted a pass on the Bearcats' next drive, giving Brevard possession at their own 30.

Hawkins came up with another big third-down pass to Ellenberger to move the sticks on third-and-15.

A 31-yard rush by Isaiah Rathbone, just as the quarter was ending, moved Brevard inside Hendersonville's 10.

The Blue Devils couldn't find the end zone, but Green drilled a 25-yard field goal to make it 17-7.

The Bearcats answered in a big way, as they returned a short kickoff all the way back to Brevard's goal line. Ensley plowed in for a score on the QB keeper, cutting the lead to 17-14 with 9:42 left in the half.

Both defenses stepped up in the second quarter, as Tripp Harris came up with Brevard's second interception of the night to set Brevard up at their own 38.

The Blue Devils went back to Rathbone and the junior came up with several big carries on the drive.

A holding penalty wiped out a long touchdown run, but Rathbone came back with a 21-yard run on the next play.

Facing third-and-eight from the 28, Hawkins delivered again, scrambling outside the pocket and buying time before hitting Ellenberger for a 24-yard pickup.

After a false start penalty, Rathbone capped off the drive, pinballing his way into the end zone from nine yards out to give Brevard a 24-14 halftime lead.

Brevard put together a long drive to start the second half, moving 66 yards and chewing up 4:30 minutes before Kane Deshauteurs rushed in from six yards out to open up a 31-14 lead.

But Hendersonville answered immediately, as Ensley turned on the jets and went 82 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff.

The Blue Devils countered on their next drive, as Hawkins hit Ellenberger over the middle for a 46-yard touchdown. A bad snap resulted in no point after, leaving Brevard with a 37-21 lead with 6:00 to go in the third quarter.

The Bearcats' next possession was aided by a drive-extending, 15-yard penalty on a punt that moved Hendersonville into Brevard territory. The visitors took advantage, as quarterback Woodson Hunter scrambled up the middle from 20 yards out to cut Brevard's lead to 37-28.

Brevard went three-and-out on their next drive, and Hendersonville was on the move again.

The Bearcats utilized Ensley heavily on the QB keeper and Hendersonville slowly moved back into Brevard territory as the game entered the fourth quarter.

Hendersonville made it inside the Blue Devils' 7, but the defense stood tall, holding the Bearcats to a 30-yard field goal that made it 37-31 with 10:10 to play.

But just when it felt like the Bearcats might steal one, Brevard's offense stepped up to the challenge. Facing third-and-11, Hawkins hit Ellenberger for a quick conversion near midfield.

A 13-yard rush from Fields, followed by a few carries from DK, moved the ball just inside the red zone. From there, an option pitch to Lucas Brooks moved Brevard to the 3-yard line.

Baxter Swicegood took over the quarterbacking duties and scored on a 3-yard TD run before adding a score on the two-point conversion to put Brevard up 45-31 with 6:20 to play.

Brevard successfully executed an onside kick moments later, allowing them to chew up plenty of clock.

Hendersonville had a pair of possessions in the closing minutes, but couldn't move the ball.

The 31 points were the most Brevard has allowed all season, but 14 of those were directly attributable to special teams and the defense prevented the Bearcats' offense from breaking off big plays.

"The defense has been playing well. Those explosive plays gave (Hendersonville) a chance. That's an area we have to improve. The defense didn't give up those deep balls. They hit the first one, but I was proud of Tripp Harris for bouncing back and coming up with an interception when they went after him again," Pritchett said.

As for Hawkins, you couldn't ask for more out of a backup quarterback.

The Bearcat defense had no answer for Isaiah Rathbone on Friday night, as the junior rumbled for 153 rushing yards, averaging eight yards a carry, and one rushing TD. CLICK PHOTO FOR GALLERY WITH MORE PHOTOS AND PURCHASE OPTIONS

He was 12-of-20 on the night for 160 yards and two TDs.

"I'm impressed, but that's Keenen. I knew he was confident and knew he was going to be ready after a week of preparation. The guys had his back. We had a great week of practice. Everybody rallied around him and he had a great game," he said.

Ellenberger also had a huge game, finishing with 267 all-purpose yards, including 107 yards receiving and 140 return yards. Rathbone posted a season-high 153 rushing yards.

With the victory, Brevard hosts Pisgah this Friday. A win and Brevard will share the Mountain Six title with their rivals, a loss and the Bears will have it all to themselves.

It's as big as it gets for a regular season finale.

"It's awesome," said Pritchett. "It's exactly what we wanted."

 
 

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