[By Stephen Amason, Special to ETSN.fm]

The Henderson Lions started the year on shaky ground but, as of late, have found consistency and are clawing up their opponents.

After winning its District 10-4A Division I opener against Palestine last Friday, Henderson has improved its overall record to 4-2.

Henderson lost its first two games of the season to Whitehouse and defending Class 4A Division II state champion Pleasant Grove.

Since then, the Lions have won four straight-games and have won most of them in dominant fashion.

“We played some very good opponents early and you hope that helps you out in your district,” Henderson head coach Phil Castles said. “Our district is always good, you hope you get some good experience for when the district starts, it’s always a competitive district.”

The Lions’ offense is led by senior quarterback Sevastian De Leon, who in last week's game, had 239 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s a terrific competitor, very intelligent, a great kid, makes good decisions, and the other guys respect him so much just because of the kind of kid he is,” Castles said. “He’s very physically and mentally tough. Humble, leads the right way, gives credit to everybody else and not himself, he’s just a joy to coach.”

Junior linebacker Brady Odom is one the leaders on the Henderson defense. Last week, he picked up six tackles and an interception, bringing his total number of tackles to 79 on the year.

“He had a great season last year and he’s kinda taken over the reins of our defense,” Castles said. “Definitely the guy that everybody looks up to and looks to, and he sets our defense and has done a great job in leading them in practice and in games.”

This Friday night the Lions go on the road to face district rival Kilgore (3-4, 1-0). These two split meetings last year with Kilgore winning the regular season matchup, and the Lions picking up the win in the regional semifinal playoff game.

“They’re very good, very physical, a lot of speed on both sides of the ball just like they always are,” Castles said. “They’re good up front offensively and defensively, they just have a lot of team speed on the defensive side and a bunch of backs that can run.”

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