Lynn Freeney Runs Henderson Past Sealy + Into Rematch With Kilgore
LUFKIN -- Henderson senior running back Lynn Freeney is picking the perfect time to play the best football of his career.
He added to his impressive postseason resume with another standout performance Friday night.
Freeney ran for a season-high 219 yards and three touchdowns, leading Henderson to a 35-14 win over Sealy in their Class 4A Division I area playoff at Abe Martin Stadium.
The victory gives Henderson (10-2) a rematch with district rival Kilgore (9-3) in the Region III semifinals next week. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Friday from Pine Tree's Pirate Stadium in Longview.
Kilgore, which defeated El Campo, 24-9, earlier in the day, won the regular-season matchup vs. Henderson, 45-35, on Oct. 20.
“We’ve gone up against them so many times now it’s like old hat," said Henderson coach Phil Castles. "They got after us that night over in Kilgore, so it’s nice to get a second chance at them.”
Freeney, who did his damage on 21 carries, staked Henderson to a 14-0 lead with a pair of first-quarter touchdown runs, then finished the job with a fourth-quarter TD and a long run to set up another score.
“I really owe it all to the offensive line opening up the holes, just letting me run through," Freeney said. "They gave me the blocks. They stepped up and I had to step up with them.”
The Henderson defense had a big hand in the win as well, scoring twice off two Sealy turnovers.
Garrett Lybrand intercepted Sealy quarterback Garret Zaskoda in the game's opening series, setting up Freeney's 10-yard touchdown run.
Then, after a timeout before the start of the fourth quarter, Lions linebacker Brady Odom sacked Zaskoda, forcing a fumble with the loose ball rolling 40 yards in the opposite direction before being recovered by Henderson's Miguel Ruiz at the Sealy 14-yard line.
“We talked about what we expected to get the next play, and what coverage and what front we wanted to be in," Castles said of his message during the timeout.
Freeney again made Sealy pay with a 17-yard run that pushed Henderson's lead to 28-14.
“(Sealy) had a couple of long drives, which you prefer we didn’t give up," Castles said. "But we caused some turnovers when we needed to and got the momentum back.”
Lions quarterback Trae Hall added 76 yards on the ground to aid in Henderson's 329-yard rushing attack.
You can’t have a good night (running the ball) unless you’re having a good night up front," Castles said.
Henderson's defense stopped Sealy on downs at the Lions' 16 with 5:18 to play, and the Lions' offense went back to work. A Freeney 64-yard run set up Keshoyn Alexander's 5-yard touchdown on the very next play for the game's final tally.
Freeney's second touchdown of the night -- a 2-yarder -- capped an eight-play, 74-yard drive to give Henderson a 14-0 lead with 4:58 to play in the first quarter.
Sealy got within one score late in the second quarter when Zaskoda, who passed for 258 yards on the night, found Ivan Bolden for a 13-yard touchdown with 56 seconds until halftime.
However, Henderson returned a short kickoff to its 48, and increased its lead to 21-7 with eight seconds remaining in the half on Hall's 3-yard touchdown pass to Tre Blanton.
Sealy scored on its opening drive of the second half on a 1-yard run from Bolden.
Henderson 35, Sealy 14
Class 4A Division I
Region III Area Playoff
At Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
Sealy 0 7 7 0 -- 14
Henderson 14 7 0 14 -- 35
HEN--Lynn Freeney 10 run (Axel Romero kick), 9:19.
HEN--Freeney 2 run (Romero kick), 4:58.
SEA--Ivan Bolden 13 pass from Garret Zaskoda (David Ponce-Gomez kick), :53.
HEN--Tre Blanton 3 pass from Trae Hall (Romero kick), :08.
SEA--Bolden 1 run (Ponce-Gomez kick), 7:15.
HEN--Freeney 17 run (Romero kick), 10:04.
HEN--Keshoyn Alexander 5 run (Romero kick), 2:37.
First Downs 22 15
Total Yards 326 395
Rushes-Yards 35-68 36-329
Passing Yards 258 66
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-32-1 7-12-0
Punts-Avg. 2-36.5 3-42.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-20 7-44
RUSHING--Sealy, Ivan Bolden 22-87, Tyrek McNeese 3-14, Garret Zaskoda 7-4, Jared Kainer 1-3, Justin Eckhardt 1-1, Team 1-(-41). Henderson, Lynn Freeney 21-219, Trae Hall 11-74, Keshoyn Alexander 4-36.
PASSING--Sealy, Zaskoda 16-32-1--258. Henderson, Hall 7-12-0--66.
RECEIVING--Sealy, Eckhardt 6-134, Kainer 4-39, Dai'Kwan Brown 3-52, Bolden 2-20, McNeese 1-13. Henderson, Tre Blanton 3-39, Caleb Medford 2-8, Austin Benningfield 1-11, Ty Blanton 1-8.