Beyond the Scoreboard: Mountain Heritage offense keeps it simple – give it to a Robinson
The offensive game plan doesn’t vary for Mountain Heritage, no matter the opponent.
The Cougars (12-0) are going to line up, often with a six or seven-man line, two split ends, a quarterback and running back in the backfield.
And a guy named Robinson is going to run the ball.
The seemingly simple formula has worked to the tune of 4,848 rushing yards and 65 touchdowns this season, the bulk of that coming from quarterback Trey Robinson (272 carries for 2,736 yards, 41 touchdowns) and running back Dathan Robinson (1,308 yards, 13 TDs).
The Robinsons are not related, but they are part of an offensive brotherhood that is averaging 404 rushing yards and 46 points a game going into Friday’s 2-A quarterfinal matchup with Hendersonville (10-3).
Coach Joey Robinson, Trey’s father and the architect of the pounding ground game, chuckles when asked if the offense is as simple as it seems.
“Yeah, let’s go with that,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just that easy.”
Obviously, there is more to the Cougars than a few basic plays run over and over.
“It’s true we don’t have an expansive playbook. We have more plays but haven’t had to use them,” said the veteran coach.
“But it’s not as simple as it’s made out to be. You can’t just line up and run the same plays against teams (like they are playing in the postseason) because they are good enough to stop that if just do it over and over again.
“To the public eye it may look simple, but there’s more going on than it looks.”
No. 3 seed Hendersonville and No. 2 Mountain Heritage know each other well. The teams played earlier this year, with the Cougars scoring in the final minute to pull out a 28-22 win at Hendersonville.
Before this season’s realignment, they were both members of the Western Highlands Conference, where they shared (along with Mitchell) regular-season titles in 2015 and last year.
And no team has played the Cougars tougher.
Since early 2015, Heritage is 29-2 in regular-season games. Both those losses came against Hendersonville, 42-22 last year and 48-44 in 2015.
The Bearcats won those games by throwing for a combined eight touchdowns, with receiver Tykel Landrum running wild, with 12 catches for 322 yards and four scores in the two victories.
But in their meeting in September, Heritage found a way to slow down the Bearcats – they kept the ball.
With an amazing 37:28-10:32 advantage in time of possession, the Cougars ran more than twice the number of offensive plays (74-36).
“We controlled the time of possession, and that was key,” said coach Robinson. “Anytime you can limit their touches, it’s a big help.
“But we know it’s not going to always work out that way. We fully expect they will get more snaps than that first game, and we have to find a way to limit their big plays.”
Big plays have been a key for the Bearcats, especially during their current six-game winning streak.
The offensive weapons include quarterback Alex “Bud” Williford (3,153 yards, 33 TDs), Landrum (59 catches, 1,162 yards, seven TDs) and fellow receiver Kalin Ensley (58 receptions, 1,195 yards, 18 scores).
Heritage is trying to get back to the state title game for the first time since 2009. The Bearcats have been in the playoffs 18 straight seasons but haven’t advanced past the quarterfinals since 2008.