Trae Hall’s Touchdown in Final Seconds Sends Henderson Past Kilgore in Instant Classic
LONGVIEW -- When the chips were down, Henderson head coach Phil Castles didn't say a thing. He didn't have to.
He let his players doing the talking before the Lions' biggest drive of the season.
Henderson quarterback Trae Hall engineered a 75-yard drive in the final minute, and scored with nine seconds remaining to send the Lions to a heart-stopping 20-14 victory over district rival Kilgore in their Class 4A Division I regional semifinal Friday night at Pirate Stadium.
The magic was preceded by Kilgore's go-ahead touchdown with 1:12 remaining.
"I had leaders like (De’Braylon Garrett) and Hall, and several other kids stepped up and said, ‘this ain’t over. We’re gonna do down here and win this thing,'" Castles said. "And they believed it, and they did it.”
Henderson (11-2), which avenged its district loss to Kilgore, will meet top-ranked and defending state champion Carthage (13-0) in another "District of Doom" rematch next week for the Region III championship.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday from Stephen F. Austin's Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches.
“Well it’s just like district," Castles said. "We had (Kilgore and Carthage) back-to-back in district, and here we are again. We’ve played these two teams so many times in the last four years it’s been unbelievable. It’ll be at a big stage with a lot of folks there.”
With no timeouts to work with, Hall, who passed for 197 yards and added 110 rushing, began the drive with a 33-yard completion to Tyrek Blanton to the Kilgore 42.
“It’s been a different kid every week, and this time it was Ty," Castles said. "He had that huge spark, and all of a sudden we had the momentum and Kilgore’s back on their heels. And it’s just a different game, the whole mindset’s changed just from one kid breaking two tackles and getting down the sideline.”
On fourth-and-5, Hall hit Treylun Blanton for a first down to the 31, and he found him again on third down to the 15-yard line, setting the stage for Hall's game-winning sprint to the end zone.
“We just wanted to take a shot and kick the field goal, but that’s just typical," Castles said. "He’s such a leader and such a competitor. Our kids got some blocks there at the end, and just sprung him.”
Kilgore (9-4), which did not allow a Henderson first down in the second half until the final drive, took over at its own 39 with 3:43 remaining and trailing 13-7.
Patrick "Buddy" Jackson's 35-yard pass to Deiontrae Wheat got Kilgore to the Henderson 12-yard line, and fourth-and-6 from the 8, the Bulldogs reached into their bag of tricks.
Jackson took the snap, faked a roll to his right, and threw back across the field to offensive lineman McKinnon White, who lined up as an eligible receiver. White was tackled at the 1 for a first down, and Javorie Hamilton scored on the next play.
Elivan Torres' PAT gave Kilgore its first lead, 14-13.
“We just stayed focused and didn’t worry about it," Hall said. "We just played our ballgame.”
There wasn't much offense for either team in the second half until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Henderson had five consecutive three-and-outs to begin the half, and Kilgore managed only 31 yards after halftime until its scoring drive.
Kilgore, which came in averaging 350 rushing yards per game, finished with 170 on the night and just 26 in the second half.
“They were doing some stuff that hurt us in the first half, moving the ball at big clips," Castles said. "We were able to make a few adjustments with our outside linebackers, and our kids bought in and got it done.”
Briant Mumphrey led Kilgore with 73 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Jaiden Zackery added 61 yards on seven attempts.
Henderson started strong by scoring on the opening possession of the game. Hall capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown. However, the extra point was blocked for a 6-0 lead.
Kilgore's second drive started at its 11 and got deep into Henderson territory, but on fourth-and-2, Hamilton was stopped one yard short at the Lions' 11.
On the ensuing series, Hall connected with Treylun Blanton for 62 yards on third down, and then hit Miguel Ruiz -- normally a defensive lineman -- across the middle for a 21-yard touchdown and 13-0 Henderson lead with 6:24 remaining in the half.
“We really put it in for (Keivie Rose) or Miguel because both of them are tight ends (too), and Ruiz happened to be in there when we called it," Castles said. "Sure enough, he bobbled it but caught it. Big play.”
Kilgore responded with a quick six-play, 65-yard drive for its first touchdown -- a 9-yard by Mumphrey with 4:17 showing on the second-quarter clock. The Bulldogs gashed Henderson with two speed option plays that totaled 31 yards on the drive.
Henderson had a chance to answer before halftime, but Hall was intercepted by Kilgore's Sebastian Mumphrey at the Bulldogs' 11-yard line with six seconds remaining.
Henderson 20, Kilgore 14
Class 4A Division I
Region III Semifinal
At Pirate Stadium, Longview
Henderson 6 7 0 7 -- 20
Kilgore 0 7 0 7 -- 14
HEN--Trae Hall 1 run (kick failed), 7:47.
HEN--Miguel Ruiz 21 pass from Hall (Axel Romero kick), 6:24.
KIL--Briant Mumphrey 9 run (Elivan Torres kick), 4:17.
KIL--Javorie Hamilton 1 run (Torres kick), 1:12.
HEN--Hall 15 run (Romero kick), :09.
First Downs 12 17
Total Yards 338 250
Rushes-Yards 30-141 43-170
Passing Yards 197 80
Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-22-1 5-10-0
Punts-Avg. 6-33.3 4-39.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-35 10-80
RUSHING--Henderson, Trae Hall 20-110, Lynn Freeney 10-31. Kilgore, Briant Mumphrey 14-73, Jaiden Zackery 7-61, Patrick "Buddy" Jackson 13-34, Javorie Hamilton 4-7, Nick Hooper 5-(-5).
PASSING--Henderson, Hall 11-22-1--197. Kilgore, Jackson 5-10-0--80.
RECEIVING--Henderson, Tyrek Blanton 4-50, Treylun Blanton 3-82, Caleb Medford 2-36, Miguel Ruiz 1-21, Freeney 1-7. Kilgore, Deiontrae Wheat 2-46, Mumphrey 1-14, Jamie Patton 1-13, McKinnon White 1-7.