Next Level: Former Patriots Shine for Mountaineers
Pinecrest graduates Brett Heimrich and Tucker Lee have become important contributors to another successful season for the Appalachian State football team.
Both sophomores, Heimrich is the team’s long snapper, while Lee became the starting right guard three games ago. Following the Thanksgiving break, the Mountaineers (8-3) will get back to work in earnest for next Saturday’s NCAA Division I Championship second-round playoff game at home against Illinois State.
The offensive line and special teams excelled in the Mountaineers’ 33-28 win over Furman in the final regular-season game two weeks ago. Heimrich snapped for three points after touchdowns, four made field goals and four punts.
He began working to become a long snapper when he was in middle school before taking over those duties for coach Chris Metzger at Pinecrest, where he also played on the offensive line. He got in three games as a Mountaineer freshman when the team’s regular long snapper was injured.
Brett’s position coach this year is Mark Ivey, who was the head coach of the Barron Collier (Fla.) squad that played against Pinecrest in 2011.
“Brett worked hard over the summer and did a great job of straightening his snaps and getting his times down, and he has been solid this fall,” Ivey says. “He is a committed player and has been a real asset for us this season.”
Lee, the team’s largest offensive lineman at 6-foot-2, 320 pounds, helped open the holes for running back Steven Miller to gain 173 yards on 25 carries and the offense to gain 488 yards overall in the win over Furman. He had the critical block on an end-around option pass from Andrew Peacock to tight end Drew Bailey for a touchdown that gave the Mountaineers a 17-7 lead.
Coach Jerry Moore’s squad earned a first-round bye for its eighth playoff berth in a row. The Mountaineers won national titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
“It’s everything we worked for and hoped for all summer,” Heimrich said from home by phone on Friday. “It was tough at times because we went 11 weeks without a bye, and it was like a marathon. But it’s starting to pay off. We hope to extend our season, that’s for sure.”
Heimrich, and Lee, who started on the offensive line for the Pinecrest team that went 10-3 in 2009, were roommates for summer practices and classes.
“We hang out pretty often as friends and use each other for rides back and forth between home and Boone,” Heimrich said.
Following Fayetteville State’s 3-1 victory over Chowan last Sunday for the CIAA volleyball title, the first person Bronco setter Paige Horne called was Sandhills Community College coach Alicia Hill. Paige played two years for the Flyers, including the 2010 season when they made the NJCAA national tournament.
“I told her it was all because of her,” the Pinecrest graduate said of the coach who encouraged her to attend a Fayetteville State tryout.
Horne and teammate Molly Farrington shared the setting duties for the Broncos (28-5, 16-0 CIAA), combining for more than 1,000 assists. Horne logged 511, including 23 to go with 10 digs in the title match held in Hampton, Va.
“As soon as we won, everyone fell down in a circle and cried,” she said, describing the emotion surrounding the program’s first post-season appearance since 2007.
All of the 5:30 a.m. mornings of conditioning now seem worth it as the team prepares for Thursday’s NCAA first-round Division II regional match against No. 1 seeded Wheeling Jesuit (35-2) in Wheeling, W.Va.
Pinecrest graduate and Fayetteville State defensive back Josh Scales has made the CIAA All-Conference football team for the second year in a row.
The national Division II leader in interceptions per game a year ago, the Bronco junior tied for the team lead this time around with four. He led the Broncos and the conference in pass breakups and was third nationally with 16. He was also third on the team with 52 tackles.
Another former Patriot, Addy George, recorded nine blocks in the Western Carolina volleyball team’s season-ending loss against Samford. The sophomore middle blocker led the Catamounts with 93 blocks, including a season-high 10 against Appalachian State. She also recorded 157 kills.
Faronte Drakeford, Phillip Wallace and Parris Manning are three reasons the Cape Fear Community College basketball team is off to a 6-2 start. Drakeford, a 6-7 sophomore, and Wallace, a 6-1 freshman, were teammates on Pinecrest teams that each won 24 games in their junior and senior years. Manning, a 6-3 freshman, earned All-Cape Fear Valley Conference honors in his last two years at Union Pines.
Drakeford, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Pinecrest, leads the Sea Devils in scoring at 22.1 points per game and in rebounds with 7.2 caroms per contest. Wallace, also an all-SEC selection, leads the team in assists with 6.1 per game.
Manning is averaging 8.8 points per game, including a season-high 27 against Wytheville CC.
Another former Viking, Alishia Mosley, demonstrated how to fill a stat sheet in Tusculum College’s 74-42 victory over Winston-Salem State in Greenville, Tenn., last week.
The Pioneer junior scored more than 1,000 points for Union Pines while earning many honors, including all-state. She scored a game-high 17 points off the bench in the Pioneer home opener. She was 8-for-13 from the field and grabbed six rebounds to go with three assists, three steals and a block in 24 minutes of action.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
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