Kent Mahoney

The annual Tomato Bowl is this week for the Henderson Lions as they travel to Jacksonville Friday night.

Jacksonville pulled out a last-minute victory over Palestine last week after trailing in the second half; more on that later. 

Henderson has been hard at work this week fixing some issues from last week’s context against Pleasant Grove.

The Lions were flagged for delay of game at the most inopportune moments last week, according to coach Phil Castles.

Controlling the snap clock is paramount to keeping the momentum of a drive alive.

“We didn’t get the plays transferred in and out,” Castles said Tuesday.  “We played a bunch of different personnel groups, because of the defense we were facing. We felt the need to add a couple of extra personnel groups.”

Castles explained the time it takes to get players on and off the field in a timely manner as a focus issue. 

Special teams were another area of concern. Facing a ‘pooch’ kicker threw a wrench into the system. But besides that, the punt receiving was questionable at times with an unprotected single receiver trying to make the best of a situation.

“On punt return, he’s pretty much on his own,” Castles said. “We hold them up and he gets whatever he can get. We just want the football.”

In college and high school the players can leave the line of scrimmage before the ball is punted. Basically, the punting team gets to the runner to setting us any kind of a return.

Now to the Tomato Bowl

According to Castles, the Tomato Bowl is an old and long-standing tradition between Henderson and Jacksonville, who is considered the tomato capital of Texas.

The stone façade around the current playing field is so old that renovations have only taken place inside its confines. The site dates back to the 1940s.

Jacksonville had a very interesting game last week with Palestine, winning with little time on the clock.

The Indians’ quarterback, Patrick Clater, 26-52-2 passing for 380 yards and four touchdowns. 

Aaron Richardson ran the ball 17 times for 63 yards and three touchdowns.

The scoring in the first quarter alone, 21-14, showed the offensive explosiveness of both teams. 

Palestine scored 27 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 31-21 lead at the half.

Jacksonville roared back with a 20-point effort in the third quarter, to Palestine’s seven points.

Jacksonville scored with eight minutes left in the game to take a 49-48 lead thanks to a 2-point conversion. 

“They have a very athletic QB and he doesn’t take a lot of sacks,” Castles said. “He gets rid of the ball really quick. They have a good receiver in #3 (Chris Carpenter). That kid is very talented.”

Jacksonville has a clear bag policy that can be found on the school’s website. 

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