WNC football career records could fall this Friday
As the Western North Carolina football season moves into Week 5, this could be a record-breaking Friday night for a couple of the area’s top players.
The method of how the North Carolina High School Athletic Association collects and estab lishes records requires schools to report the feats to have them included in its record book.
That makes state records dependent on the statisticians, coaches and schools to turn in athletic accomplishments, which doesn’t always happen.
So all records reported must include the reminder that the numbers are based on what has been reported and the trust that record keepers have been diligent and accurate.
The following numbers include research from the NCHSAA record book, statistics provided from local schools and previous reporting from trusted and reliable sources.
By all indications, WNC’s all-time leader in total yardage by a high-school football player is Erwin quarterback Damien Ferguson, who played for the Warriors from 2014-16.
Ferguson is the area’s all-time leading passer with 9,179 yards and also rushed for 1,102 yards in three seasons, giving him a total of 10,281 yards.
Mountain Heritage quarterback Trey Robinson, a four-year starter who will play in his 45th consecutive game on Friday at home vs. Hayesville, is poised to break that mark.
He has 9,953 total yards (6,137 rushing, 3,816 passing), 329 yards away from breaking Ferguson’s mark.
On his current pace of averaging more than 300 yards of offense a game and assuming he stays healthy, the son of Mountain Heritage coach Joey Robinson could reach 13,000 or more total yards with a long run in the playoffs, a mark that may stand for a long time if not forever.
Robinson is also on pace to finish as WNC’s all-time leading rusher. His current total of 6,137 is 819 yards away from passing Owen’s Jager Gardner (6,955 yards at Owen High from 2012-14).
Robinson already ranks as the local leader in career touchdown responsibility with a combined 125 scores (73 rushing, 52 passing). No. 2 in that category is another current quarterback and four-year starter, Ben Young of Mitchell (110 TDs, 59 rushing and 51 passing).
Robinson’s 125 TDs are the eighth best in the history of the state, and Young is 11th all-time.
Ferguson and Heath Shuler of Swain County, who led his teams to three state 1-A titles from 1988-90, are tied for third in WNC with 103 TDs accounted for.
Young (9,366 total yards, including 6,530 passing and 2,836 rushing) also has a chance to pass Ferguson’s career total and trails Robinson by 587 yards.
Another player expected set a new WNC mark this week is Hendersonville receiver Tykel Landrum.
The Bearcats’ senior speedster is already the area’s all-time leader in career reception yardage with 3,863 yards, ahead of No. 2 Josh Johnson of Avery (3,185 yards from 2003-05).
Landrum (206 receptions) needs five catches this week against Burns to break Johnson’s WNC record of 210 receptions. Kyle Garland of Robbinsville (182 catches from 2002-04) is third on the local list.
It won ‘t happen this week, but Murphy coach David Gentry is just three wins away from becoming the state’s all-time leader in wins at the same school. Already the WNC leader in that category and in overall wins (384-190 in 45 seasons), Gentry is 328-115 in his 35th year with the Bulldogs.
According to the state record book, the mark for wins at the same school is 330 (Tom Brown, 35 years at Maiden).
The career wins leader in the state is Jack Holley (412-96-9 at six schools in 45 years). Gentry, 71, is 29 wins away from breaking that mark.