Zane Boles Leads Henderson To 37-14 Win Over Chapel Hill + Lions’ First District Title Since 2000
HENDERSON -- Despite winning seven of their first eight games of the season, there may have been some who still believed the Henderson Lions were underdogs heading into Friday night's matchup with Chapel Hill.
The Lions erased all doubt by scoring the game's first 29 points en route to a dominating 37-14 victory over the Bulldogs in the ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Game of the Week. The win gave Henderson (8-1, 4-0 in District 9-4A Division I) its first district title since 2000.
"We were picked fifth in our district in the preseason," said Henderson quarterback Zane Boles, who rushed for three touchdowns on the night. "We had a lot of doubters. The fact that we haven't won a district championship in 14 years, it's a great feeling. It's a huge accomplishment."
Boles only completed three passes on the night, but he was more than effective on the ground, carrying the ball 25 times for 181 yards.
"Obviously, he's the spark plug that makes this go," said Henderson coach Phil Castles. "Zane will do whatever we ask him to do; he's that kind of kid. He's a strong kid, a physical kid, can run it obviously and can throw it. He's been able to do that all year and we needed him tonight, and he came through for us."
The workload for Boles came out of necessity with starting running back Randy Davis nursing a shoulder injury suffered in last week's win at Palestine.
"I knew I was going to have to take on a little bit more of the running responsibility," Boles said. "And that was perfectly OK with me. My offensive line created a lot of big holes to run through, and they made my job pretty easy, honestly."
Henderson held down a potent Chapel HIll (5-4, 3-1) offense that came into Friday's game averaging 57 points and more than 500 yards per game in district. The Bulldogs finished with 321 yards and were limited to two third-quarter touchdowns after Henderson had already built a 29-0 lead.
"Chapel Hill's got tons of speed (on offense) and we knew we were going to have to play assignment football and have people with good technique, and make sure that we kept them inside," Castles said. "For the most part, our kids played very disciplined football."
Chapel Hill got on the scoreboard on its second play of the third quarter when Delenis Garrett took his only carry of the night 59 yards for a touchdown. Ja'Braylon Franklin's 12-yard run on the Bulldogs' next series cut the deficit to 29-14, and Chapel Hill's defense forced Henderson into a three-and-out early in the fourth quarter.
But on second down, Henderson's Trestan Ebner stepped in front of a Konnor Hitchcock pass and intercepted it, giving the Lions possession at the Chapel Hill 26. Three plays later, Boles' third touchdown of the game -- a 7-yard run -- effectively put the game out of reach. The quarterback tacked on the two-point conversion, which provided the game's final score with 10:16 remaining in the game.
"That's a huge play, it pretty much put the nails in the coffin for us and got the momentum back for us, and then we just took over after that point," Castles said. "Our kids stayed calm and executed, and I was proud of that."
It was the second interception of the night for Hitchcock. La'Kendrick Vanzandt returned his first pick 67 yards for a touchdown, which gave Henderson a 22-0 lead with 2:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Hitchcock finished 12 of 23 passing for 161 yards. Franklin and Michael Bledsoe each ran for 42 yards in the Bulldogs' losing effort.
Henderson scored the game's first points on a Boles 62-yard run that capped a four-play, 73-yard drive. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving Henderson in front 6-0 with 8:55 showing on the first-quarter clock.
Chapel Hill moved into Henderson territory on its next series, but a bad snap resulted in a Austyn Fendrick missed field goal from 39 yards.
Henderson proceeded to march 78 yards in six plays, scoring on Vanzandt's 29-yard run. Davis ran in the two-point conversion, which gave Henderson a 14-0 lead with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter. Vanzandt finished with 66 yards rushing on nine attempts.
"We got a three-and-out and then a score, got another (stop) and (got a score)," Castles said. "Any time you can do that, that's starts the thing off right and that's just how you draw it up."
Chapel Hill's Deundre Phillips returned the ensuing kick 40 yards to the Henderson 38, but Vanzandt's pick-six on first down gave the Lions a commanding 22-point lead they would carry into the second half.
Both Chapel Hill and Henderson have qualified for the playoffs, and will conclude the regular season next Friday night. Chapel Hill hosts Carthage (4-5, 3-1), while Henderson travels to Kilgore (3-6, 2-2).
Henderson 37, Chapel Hill 14
At Lion Stadium, Henderson
Chapel Hill 0 0 14 0 -- 14
Henderson 22 0 7 8 -- 37
HEN--Zane Boles 62 run (run failed), 8:55.
HEN--La'Kendrick Vanzandt (Randy Davis run), 2:50.
HEN--Vanzandt 67 interception return (Davis run), 2:26.
HEN--Boles 19 run (Edgar Sanchez kick), 8:37.
CH--Delenis Garrett 59 run (Austyn Fendrick kick), 8:11.
CH--Ja'Braylon Franklin 12 run (Fendrick kick), 1:51.
HEN--Boles 7 run (Boles run), 10:16.
First Downs 14 18
Total Yards 321 296
Rushes-Yards 34-160 51-276
Passing Yards 161 20
Comp.-Att.-Int. 12-24-2 3-8-0
Punts-Avg. 4-37.8 6-37.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-1
Penalties-Yards 8-80 6-45
RUSHING--Chapel Hill, Delenis Garrett 1-59, Michael Bledsoe 9-42, Ja'Braylon Franklin 7-42, Konnor Hitchcock 9-18, Reggie King 3-16, Jeffery Minor 2-(-5), Deundre Phillips 3-(-12). Henderson, Zane Boles 25-181, La'Kendrick Vanzandt 9-66, Randy Davis 12-14, Matthew Childers 3-8, Trestan Ebner 2-7.
PASSING--Chapel Hill, Hitchcock 12-23-2--161, Minor 0-1-0--0. Henderson, Boles 3-8-0--20.
RECEIVING--Chapel Hill, Zack Walters 4-54, Deundre Phillips 3-58, Minor 3-49, King 2-0. Henderson, Trestan Ebner 1-18, Dustin Fielding 1-1, Vanzandt 1-1.