No. 11 Pisgah vs. No. 22 North Henderson: Who wins rematch in round one?

Nov. 1—One week after Pisgah out-dueled North Henderson in Hendersonville to secure a home playoff game, these two teams take the field again, this time in Canton. Who will come out on top and advance in the playoffs?

Date & Location: 7 p.m. Nov. 3 in Canton

Last Meeting: Pisgah won 55-41 last week in Hendersonville

The Bears took home the win in a high-scoring affair last week, claiming second place in the Mountain 7 Conference and a home playoff game in the process. Now, they get set to play in that home playoff game against the same opponent.

It's always hard to beat a team twice, especially on back-to-back weeks, setting up an even bigger challenge for the Bears.

North Henderson in review

The Knights have had a surprisingly strong season. In the last few years, North Henderson hasn't been a powerhouse in Western North Carolina. The Knights last winning season was in spring 2021 when they went 4-3. Their last winning season with a full schedule was in 2015, going 7-4.

This season, the Knights went 7-3 with a 3-3 record in conference play.

North Henderson started its season 3-0 with strong performances against weaker, non-conference competition. Once the conference slate opened with a game against the Mountain 7's top program, the West Henderson Falcons, things slammed to a screeching halt.

The following week, the Knights dropped a one-score game to the Smoky Mountain Mustangs. That's when North Henderson rattled off four straight wins before losing their season finale to Pisgah.

Those four wins include a 42-32 win over Tuscola, a 31-10 win over Franklin, a 34-0 win against East and a 42-10 win against Enka.

Knights to watch

The biggest name to watch will be senior Zion McDaniel. Last week, the running back rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries. He also had a 76-yard kickoff return and played well in the secondary.

Jonathan Costley was the team's leading receiver last week, catching five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Bears to watch

Senior running back Breydon Reynolds has been the lifeblood of the Bears' rushing attack this season and had another big game on Friday, rushing for 109 yards and three touchdowns.

Sophomore quarterback Aaron Clark and his stable of receivers, including junior Sawyer Belue and senior Cadden Davis, have shown an ability to throw the ball and make big plays when needed.

Clark threw his most passes of the season last week as he went 23 of 31 for 273 yards, two touchdowns with one interception while rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Belue had a big game through the air with 14 catches for 119 yards last week

Juniors Kenyon Moore and Belue lead the defense with three interceptions, followed by sophomore Matthew Mehaffey and junior Jake Lowery with two apiece. Players like seniors Tytus Bridges and Hudson Smith, junior Carter Browning, and sophomores Pope and Jaxon Bautista have proven to be instrumental in the front end of the defense's success.

Inside the Xs and Os

The Bears will likely need to play a similar game to what they played this past week, throwing the ball and being more aggressive. Expect trick plays and fourth down attempts from the Bears, as they look to match their success of seven days prior.

The Bears will need to try and contain McDaniel, however. They figured it out late in last week's matchup but will need to do more early on to slow him down.

If Pisgah wins: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Bears return to the same style of play that they used to beat the Knights and do it once again.

If North Henderson wins: The Knights get one or two more stops and get McDaniel into more open space as he puts up a career night.