Henderson Takes Advantage of Newton’s Four Turnovers in 32-8 Victory
[By Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]
HENDERSON — With a distinct size and numbers disadvantage against a Class 4A opponent, the Newton Eagles had to take advantage of each of their possessions on Friday night at Lion Stadium.
Unfortunately, they were bitten by the turnover bug.
The Henderson Lions took advantage of four Eagles turnovers and wore their opponent down in the second half, coasting to a 32-8 victory to improve to 4-0 on the season and in the process give coach Phil Castles his 100th career victory.
After a slow start to the first half where they managed to score on just two of their first six possessions, the Lions found the end zone on their first three possessions of the second half, blowing open an 11-8 halftime advantage.
After Tanner Holmes and Co. held their own defensively for the majority of the first half, the Lions picked up 212 of their 307 total yards after the break. With just 28 players suited up and most playing both ways, the Eagles appeared gassed at times down the stretch.
Trestan Ebner, who accounted for 70 total yards and two touchdowns on the night, opened the second-half scoring, capping a five-play 56-yard drive with a 44-yard score after breaking two tackles and outracing the secondary to the end zone.
He then hit quarterback Matthew Childers for the 2-point conversion, giving the Lions a 19-8 lead.
After forcing a punt, the Lions ran 4:06 off the clock on their next possession with runs of 16 yards by Lakendrick Vanzandt and 14 from Childers setting up Vanzandt for a 1-yard touchdown.
Vanzandt finished the night with 81 yards on 12 carries, while Childers picked up 67 yards on 12 attempts.
The Lions got their final score of the night after the Eagles fifth fumble, with Garrett Lybrand scooping up his third recovery of the night.
It took the Lions just five plays to get in the end zone, with Lynn Freeney picking up runs of 8, 17 and 4 yards before scoring from 3 yards out for the game’s final points.
Despite nearly doubling the Lions yardage-wise in the first half, the Eagles trailed at the break due to three costly lost fumbles.
After fumbling it away on their opening drive, and failing to convert on a fourth-and-6, the Eagles’ second fumble of the night, recovered by Lybrand, proved to be costly.
After a punt was downed at the 1-yard line, Foster’s fumble was pounced on by Lybrand, giving the ball to the Lions at the Eagles 14-yard line.
It took just three plays for Henderson to score, as Childers hit Ebner on a corner fade on third-and-8 for the score. Freeney got in up the middle for the two-point conversion, giving the Lions an 8-0 lead.
The next possession for the Eagles (1-2) once again ended with a fumble, this time after driving to the Lions’ 39-yard line.
Holmes and the defense held their own, as they did much of the half, limiting the Lions offense to just 95 yards before the break.
Taking over at their own 11-yard line after a Lions punt, the Eagles managed to get on the board. Brock Barbay hit Antwaine Hunter on back-to-back pass plays, and Holmes found Foster for a 22-yard gain on a backward pass.
Foster found the end zone two plays later from 25 yards away and added the two-point conversion to tie things up.
Foster finished the night with 15 carries for 95 yards, while Barbay completed 9 of his 13 attempts for 117 yards.
Julio Cervantes booted a 32-yard field goal with just 14 seconds remaining until the half to give the Lions an 11-8 lead at the break.
Newton returns to action next week hosting Orangefield, while the Lions travel to Daingerfield.