CARTHAGE -- Henderson set the tone for its biggest win to date on its first defensive series, and the Lions' powerful ground attack did the rest.

The Lions turned an early turnover into a quick lead, and two rushers ran for more than 100 yards in seventh-ranked Henderson' 36-28 triumph over No. 3 Carthage in front of packed house Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

Henderson (6-0, 2-0 in District 9-4A Division I), which emerged as the favorite in district with the win, opened up a 22-point lead in the first half, and held on to take down its arch-rival on their home field.

“It’s a big deal," said Henderson coach Phil Castles. "These communities are so close together. That’s a good football team in Carthage, and there’s always a chance we could play them again. But that’s a big victory — big for our kiddos, big for our schools, and big for our community.”

Henderson only attempted seven passes on the night, but rolled up 343 rushing yards against a stout Carthage (3-1, 0-1) defensive front.

Senior running back Lakendrick VanZandt, a TCU commit, led the way with 194 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. His 72-yard sprint to the end zone gave Henderson a 29-7 lead late in the first half, and his 3-yard score pushed the lead to 36-13 midway through the third quarter.

“Our offense doesn’t work without Lakendrick, he’s the most important player on our offense," said Henderson senior receiver/defensive back and fellow TCU pledge Trestan Ebner. "The dude is good.”

Lions quarterback Trae Hall added 114 yards on the ground, and threw a pair of touchdowns, including a 38-yarder to Ebner that gave Henderson a 22-0 lead early in the second quarter.

“We just wanted to come over and play our game, and not worry about anything else; not worry about the hype," Ebner said.

Carthage junior running back Keaontay Ingram put up 221 total yards of offense, and scored three touchdowns. He rushed for 139 yards and two scores, and added 82 yards on four reception and another touchdown.

Bulldogs quarterback Kason Davis struggled to get into a rhythm in the first half, beginning his night just 2-for-13. He finished 16 of 34 for 230 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

“Coach Castles is a great defensive-minded coach, and he had the game plan for it, and put us in the right position," Ebner said of his team's defensive performance.

Carthage answered VanZandt's second touchdown by moving 88 yards in just six plays. Ingram had runs of 27 and 41 yards on consecutive plays to get the Bulldogs into the red zone, and Davis' 19-yard completion to Dee Bowens gave Carthage a first-and-goal at the 1.

Davis threw a fade to Dewaylon Ingram for a touchdown two plays later, trimming Henderson's lead to 36-20 with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Mekhi Colbert intercepted Hall to end the Lions' next series, and after moving into Henderson territory, Carthage was stopped when Davis' fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

Henderson turned it over again on the following possession as Mykel Gates pounced on a loose ball at the Carthage 26.

The Bulldogs drove down the field, and scored on a Keaontay Ingram 1-yard run. On a trick play, Bowens connected with Davis in the end zone for the two-point conversion, cutting Carthage's deficit to 36-28 with 3:44 remaining in the fourth.

But Henderson recovered the onside kick, and ran out the remainder of the clock to preserve the win.

Matthew Childers supplied the first big play of the game when he stepped in front of a Davis pass for an interception on Carthage's first snap of the game.

That set the Lions up at the Carthage 28, and on third-and-goal from the 5, Hall found Demarcus O'Quinn for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 7:23 to play in the opening quarter.

“We got a big pick early by Childers and we were able to put that thing in the end zone," Castles said. "Obviously that gives you a leg up and we sure had the momentum in the first half.”

Carthage was stopped on fourth-and-2 from its own 41 on the ensuing series, and Henderson capitalized, using a Hall 24-yard scramble on third down to set up Ebner's 5-yard scoring run. Ebner competed a pass to VanZandt for the two-point conversion, and Henderson had a 15-0 lead with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs drove into the red zone on their next series, but were stopped on fourth down at the Henderson 19.

VanZandt ripped off a 28-yard run on the first play, and Henderson extended the lead to 22-0 on Hall's 38-yard scoring strike to Ebner with 9:50 to play in the half.

Gates recovered a fumble on Henderson's next series, and Carthage finally got on the board with Keaontay Ingram's 6-yard run with 1:59 remaining until halftime.

It took the Henderson offense just two plays to respond, as VanZandt went 72 yards untouched to the end zone, extending the Lions' lead to 29-7.

“He’s a special kid, and he runs so hard, and the kids love him," Castles said of VanZandt. "The offensive line does a tremendous job of opening holes, and they did a great job all night.”

Carthage was able to score points just before the half, as Ingram hauled in a screen pass and went 59 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Lions' lead to 29-13.

Henderson is off next week, and returns to action Oct. 14 at home against Kilgore. Carthage travels to Kilgore next Friday night.


No. 7 Henderson 36, No. 3 Carthage 28

At Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

Henderson          15    14      7      0    --    36
Carthage               0    13      7      8    --    28

First Quarter
HEN--Demarcus O'Quinn 5 pass from Trae Hall (Axel Romero kick), 7:23.
HEN--Trestan Ebner 5 run (Lakendrick VanZandt pass from Ebner), 3:58.
Second Quarter
HEN--Ebner 38 pass from Hall (Romero kick), 9:50.
CAR--Keaontay Ingram 6 run (Brandon Medrano kick), 1:59.
HEN--VanZandt 72 run (Romero kick), 1:10.
CAR--Ingram 59 pass from Kason Davis (kick failed), :32.
Third Quarter
HEN--VanZandt 3 run (Romero kick), 7:06.
CAR--Dewaylon Ingram 1 pass from Davis (Medrano kick), 5:31.
Fourth Quarter
CAR--Ingram 1 run (Davis pass from Dee Bowens), 3:44.

                                       HEN               CAR
First Downs                         16                  20
Total Yards                         398                411
Rushes-Yards               42-343          30-168
Passing Yards                      55               243
Comp.-Att.-Int.                3-7-1         17-35-1
Punts-Avg.                     1-44.0           1-55.0
Fumbles-Lost                      5-2               0-0
Penalties-Yards                  5-40             9-49

RUSHING--Henderson, Lakendrick VanZandt 17-194, Trae Hall 16-114, Lynn Freeney 6-23, Matthew Childers 2-7, Trestan Ebner 1-5. Carthage, Keaontay Ingram 22-139, Kason Davis 8-29.
PASSING--Henderson, Hall 3-7-1--55. Carthage, Davis 16-34-1--230, Dee Bowens 1-1-0--13.
RECEIVING--Henderson, Ebner 2-50, Demarcus O'Quinn 1-5. Carthage, Dewaylon Ingram 5-64, Keaontay Ingram 4-82, Bowens 3-38, Josh Gradberg 2-29, Davis 1-13, Keilinn Shelton 1-10, Roderic Calloway 1-7.

More From East Texas Sports Network