Games of the Year, No. 9: Chapel Hill-Henderson Opens 16-3A Two Years Removed From State Title Game
Less than two years ago, Henderson and Chapel Hill weren’t only battling for East Texas bragging rights but statewide supremacy in the 3A Division I state championship game -- the first held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Henderson took a 28-21 win and the first state title in school history. Less than two years later, the two Highway 64 foes open District 16-3A play against one another on Sept. 28. But both teams will carry a different look into this clash of area powers.
Gone are the two school’s record-breaking quarterbacks. Henderson’s Del Barnes, the Offensive MVP from the 2010 state title game, is now at Cornell. Avery Saenz, who earned 2011 Offensive MVP honors, signed with Tyler Junior College. Henderson is exploring several options at quarterback, while Chapel Hill figures to have its man in Jacksonville move-in Andrew Black.
Defensively is where Henderson is expected to shine. Defensive lineman Bo Brady was an all-stater a year ago after posting 17 sacks, while linebacker Jamaal Kind is back following a 116-tackle season a year ago. The Lions also return one of the best return-men in the state in senior Patrick “Monster” Brown, who returned six kicks for touchdowns in 2011.
One thing is for certain: whichever team wins this one will have a major leg up in the push for the playoffs in the “District of Doom.”