LONGVIEW -- The rematch between district rivals Carthage and Henderson lived up to the hype. And then some.

Carthage, on the strength of junior running back Keaontay Ingram's four touchdowns, avenged its district loss with a thrilling 33-31 victory in a Class 4A Division I, Region III semifinal in front of a standing-room only crowd Friday night at Lobo Stadium.

The Bulldogs (10-2) reached the state quarterfinals for the seventh time in head coach Scott Surratt's 10 seasons at the helm. Carthage will face Stafford (10-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday from Lufkin's Abe Martin Stadium for the regional championship.

“We knew it’d be close if we could play with them," Surratt said. "I knew our young men would play unbelievably hard, and that’s what we did. The big key was that we didn’t have any turnovers, and I think we turned it over three times (in the first game, a 36-28 loss).”

Ingram carried 35 times for a career-high 248 yards, and scored on runs of 52, 4, 6, and 5 yards. He also had three receptions for 32 yards.

“My coach said coming into the game that we were going to pound the rock, and I thought I had to step it up," Ingram said. "(The offensive line) played awesome, I’m proud of them.”

The Carthage win overshadowed a tremendous performance from Henderson (11-2) senior running back and TCU commit Lakendrick VanZandt, who finished with 255 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries.

VanZandt's first three carries of the second half all went for touchdowns and covered 168 yards. His 36-yarder gave Henderson a 31-30 lead in the final seconds of the third quarter.

“We knew that VanZandt would get his plays. He’s a special player, probably the best we’ve seen all year. I think he’s better than (Silsbee running back Calvin Tyler), honestly.”

Following VanZandt's final touchdown, Carthage went on a 12-play, 79-yard drive, and took the lead on Brandon Medrano's 19-yard field goal with 7:25 remaining in the game.

“You can’t say enough about our kicker Brandon Medrano," Surratt said. "That’s a lot of pressure in front of all these people, and he knocked it right down the middle.”

Henderson's fourth-down pass from the Carthage 23 on the ensuing series fell incomplete with 4:20 to play, giving Carthage a chance to consume the rest of the clock.

However, the Lions' defense stopped Ingram inches short of a first down on a fourth-down play at the Henderson 27 with 54 seconds remaining.

Following a first-down completion, Henderson quarterback Trae Hall fired three consecutive incompletions to turn the ball back over to Carthage, which went into victory formation.

“We had a really good game plan going into it," said Carthage senior quarterback Kason Davis, who was 11-of-18 for 140 yards passing. "It helped that we got to watch film and see all the things we did wrong last game.”

Henderson senior receiver and fellow TCU commit Trestan Ebner caught eight passes for 108 yards in the loss. Hall was 10-of-22 for 122 yards, and ran for 67 yards on 10 carries.

Each team scored touchdowns on their opening drives of the game.

Henderson marched 63 yards in eight plays, and scored on a 12-yard run by VanZandt. Ebner completed a pass to Demarcus O'Quinn for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Lions lead.

Carthage responded on its second play from scrimmage as Ingram bounced off two would-be tacklers and raced down the sideline for a highlight-reel 52-yard touchdown. Davis connected with offensive lineman Tanner Elliott on the two-point try, tying the game at 8-8 with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.

Bulldogs junior cornerback Mekhi Colbert broke up a pass in the end zone on third-and-goal to stop Henderson's ensuing drive, and Lions kicker Axel Romero booted a 26-yard field to give his team an 11-8 lead late in the first.

Colbert returned the ensuing kick 18 yards to the Carthage 42, and the Bulldogs took their first lead -- 15-11 -- 11 plays later on Ingram's 4-yard touchdown run with 8:05 to play in the half.

Henderson marched deep into Carthage territory on the next series, but on fourth-and-3 from the 14, Bulldogs linebacker Mykel Gates intercepted Hall and returned the pick 92 yards to the Henderson 1. However, an illegal block nullified the return.

Instead, Carthage began the drive at its 10-yard line with 3:36 to play until halftime.

The Bulldogs converted three third downs, and with nine seconds remaining in the half, Ingram took a pitch to his left, completely reversed field and dove to the pylon for an incredible 6-yard touchdown as time expired, giving Carthage a 22-11 lead.

“The one right before the half was a pitch-back pass, and we had a guy wide open and (Ingram) didn’t throw it," Surratt said. "Then he made just an unbelievable run after that. I think he felt that we may have really got after him if he didn’t get in.”

Henderson cut the lead to 22-17 three minutes into the third quarter with an impressive 89-yard touchdown run from VanZandt. Carthage pushed the lead back to two scores on Ingram's 5-yard run and Davis' pass to Dewaylon Ingram for the two-point conversion.

VanZandt's next two touches -- touchdowns runs of 43 and 36 yards -- returned the lead to Henderson just before the start of the fourth quarter.

“The defense gave up a lot of yardage, but we bent and didn’t break," Surratt said. "At the end, they came up with the two big stops.”


Carthage 33, No. 10 Henderson 31

Class 4A Division I
Region III Semifinal
At Lobo Stadium, Longview

Carthage             8    14      8      3    --    33
Henderson        11      0    20      0    --    31

First Quarter
HEN--Lakendrick VanZandt 12 run (Demarcus O'Quinn pass from Trestan Ebner), 8:41.
CAR--Keaontay Ingram 52 run (Tanner Elliott pass from Kason Davis), 7:45.
HEN--FG Axel Romero 26, 1:41.
Second Quarter
CAR--Ingram 4 run (Brandon Medrano kick), 8:05.
CAR--Ingram 6 run (Medrano kick), :00.
Third Quarter
HEN--VanZandt 89 run (pass failed), 9:09.
CAR--Ingram 5 run (Dewaylon Ingram pass from Davis), 4:43.
HEN--VanZandt 43 run (Romero kick), 3:49.
HEN--VanZandt 36 run (Romero kick), :27.
Fourth Quarter
CAR--FG Medrano 19, 7:25.

                                        CAR               HEN
First Downs                          22                  18
Total Yards                          457               441
Rushes-Yards                48-293          29-319
Passing Yards                     164               122
Comp.-Att.-Int.             12-19-0         10-22-1
Punts-Avg.                      1-51.0               0-0
Fumbles-Lost                       0-0               0-0
Penalties-Yards                   4-25             4-30

RUSHING--Carthage, Keaontay Ingram 35-248, Kason Davis 9-35, Mekhi Colbert 2-6, Brewster Griffith 2-4. Henderson, Lakendrick VanZandt 18-255, Trae Hall 10-67, Trestan Ebner 1-(-3).
PASSING--Carthage, Davis 11-18-0--140, Colbert 1-1-0--24. Henderson, Hall 10-22-1--122.
RECEIVING--Carthage, Colbert 4-76, Keaontay Ingram 3-32, Dee Bowens 3-24, Dewaylon Ingram 2-32. Henderson, Ebner 8-108, Matthew Childers 2-14.