Henderson Hangs on to Beat Chapel Hill
NEW CHAPEL HILL – Kourtland Jackson couldn't shake the feeling.
"My intuition or something told me, 'Look over this way,'" Jackson said. "Something was telling me he was gonna come across."
That feeling ended up resulting in the biggest play of the game. Jackson collided with a Chapel Hill receiver, who appeared to have caught the ball. Both players wrestled for the ball, but Jackson ultimately came away with it. The play stopped a Chapel Hill run as Henderson went on to defeat the Bulldogs, 35-21 on Friday.
"I was relieved," Jackson said. "I was getting snagged on all game. They were making plays on me. I needed to make a play. Just show I can bounce back and play through anything."
The interception came after two consecutive touchdowns from Chapel Hill cut the deficit to one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The first touchdown came early in the quarter, after a methodical drive from the Bulldogs. Khalan Griffin found Robbie Williams for his second touchdown of the game.
A fumble from Henderson on the ensuing possession opened the door for a Chapel Hill comeback. The Bulldogs took over on their own 15 and scored not two minutes later – another Williams touchdown – to make it 28-21.
After the next Lion drive stalled on fourth down, Chapel Hill took over with momentum swinging heavily in its favor. Not even a minute later, though, a jubilant Jackson was celebrating with his teammates.
Defense was big for Henderson in the victory. The Lions held Griffin, who had rushed for more than 150 yards in each of the past three games, to only 13 yards rushing. The Bulldogs only mustered 132 as a team.
"That was one of the biggest deals going into the game," Lions coach Phil Castles said. "(Griffin) is a special kid. He's good on his feet and throwing the ball. We felt like if we could limit him a little bit on the feet, we could hold up and endure the passing."
The Lions went three-and-out and fumbled on their first two drives, but responded with 28 unanswered points in the second quarter. Quarterback Trae Hall played a part in each of the touchdowns, including a receiving touchdown on a trick play after a toss to Treylun Blanton, who played quarterback for the play.
Hall said it was something the Lions had rehearsed in practice, and to see it succeed in a game was rewarding.
"It was pretty exciting," Hall said. "I wasn't expecting to get a receiving touchdown. My hear was pumping. I've been waiting the whole season for that play."
Hall also completed all 11 of his passes for 145 yards.
Chapel Hill struck first, scoring after a 21-yard strike from Khalan Griffin to Robbie Williams on fourth-and-13 to extend their drive. Griffin found Williams again for the touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs will look to bounce back next Friday in a road game at Kilgore.
Meanwhile, Henderson will gear up for its rivalry against No. 1 Carthage. Both teams will be undefeated heading into the matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"I'm very pumped up," Hall said. "Rankings don't really mean much to me. We're still gonna go out there and play our ball game."
Henderson 35, Chapel Hill 21
At Bulldog Stadium, Tyler
Henderson 0 28 0 7 -- 35
Chapel Hill 7 0 0 14 -- 21
CHAP--Robbie Williams 9 pass from Khalan Griffin (Javier Estrada kick), 5:17.
HEN--Caleb Medford 31 pass from Trae Hall (Axel Romero kick), 11:14.
HEN--Hall 2 run (Romero kick), 4:34
HEN--Hall 17 pass from Treylun Blanton (Romero kick), 4:16
HEN--Blanton 32 pass from Hall (Romero kick), 0:34
CHAP-- Williams 3 pass from Griffin (Estrada kick), 11:14
CHAP--Williams 15 pass from Griffin (Estrada kick), 9:59.
HEN--D.Q. Murphy 11 run (Romero kick), 7:08
First Downs 9 14
Total Yards 132 277
Rushes-Yards 35-38 34-115
Passing Yards 94 162
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-23-2 12-12-0
Punts-Avg. 6-38.2 5-35.2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 5-45 5-70
RUSHING--Henderson, D.Q. Murphy 17-78, Trae Hall 12-22, Lynn Freeney 4-11, Kourtland Jackson 1-4. Chapel Hill, Khalan Griffin 19-13, Hunter Branin 6-9, Elijah Demus 5-10, Dustin Walls 4-6, Darrius Warren 1-0.
PASSING--Henderson, Hall 11-11-0--145; Treylun Blanton 1-1-0--17. Chapel Hill, Griffin 8-23-2--94.
RECEIVING--Henderson, Treylun Blanton 3-59, Caleb Medford 3-53, Tyrek Blanton 3-23, Hall 1-17, Jamarcus Jacobs 1-7, Jackson 1-3. Chapel Hill, Robbie Williams 4-48, Quin Daniel 2-28, Darrius Warren 1-12, Hunter Branin 2-7, 1-13.