Henderson called on host Chapel Hill Friday for a season-ending shot at a playoff berth in 4A-1 Region III District 9. The Lions tied the Bulldogs at 7, 21 and 28 but the latter team gained the upper hand in the closing minutes of the game and Henderson lost 42-28.
Coach Phil Castles’ Lions balanced the scales at 7-all in the first quarter, beginning with a Bulldog fumble on Henderson’s 41. Lion quarterback Donovan “Deuce” Davis completed a pass to fellow junior Tobaius Jackson to midfield. Jackson was handed the ball again and cracked the middle for Henderson’s first score. Jim Jose kicked the PAT.
The red-and-blues were 14 points behind Chapel Hill in the waning ticks of the second quarter. D’Cameron Walker capped a Lion advance with a 12-yard run to better the odds at 21-13. Jose’s extra point attempt did not make it between the uprights.
Halftime stood at 21-13 and third quarter was unchanged when Henderson mounted a drive from their own two. Walker was able to gain two yards, then a pass interference call on Chapel Hill gave the Lions more room at their 19. Davis filled the palms of junior Devin Phillips for a successful catch on the Lion 38. A face mask penalty by Bulldog Nathan Wells put his rivals at Henderson’s 47. Davis called another play and spotted Jackson for a link on Chapel’s 42. Henderson took a loss on the next attempt, but made up for it with a reception by Phillips on the opponent’s 47. It was now fourth quarter. One more quarterback call and the Lion offense opened a hole in the Bulldog bulwark for Walker to run for an unchallenged TD. Henderson tried for a two-point conversion to make it even at 21, and Jackson delivered.
The next time the Lions crossed Chapel Hill’s end zone began in their next possession on the home 43 after an unsuccessful Bulldog fourth down attempt. Walker picked up five yards; Davis completed a throw to Jackson down to the CH 37; then Henderson took six more yards of real estate. Walker slipped past the ‘Dogs’s center and Henderson led 28-21 for the sole time in the game.
The local players answered with a tying touchdown by Max Richardson. With leather in their hands again and less than two minutes on the board, Ahstin Watkins put on another TD. In Henderson’s following second play, A Davis pass was intercepted by Jordan Ford for a touchdown. Adolfo Tamayo kicked his sixth PAT and Chapel Hill prevailed.
Henderson closed 2020 at 3-6, 2-4. Other Lions highlights in Friday’s game included an interception by junior Christian Brown of a Cameron Ford pass; sackings of Ford by Brenden Collins, Brown and Jackson; and Cordarius Grange breaking a long pass to Solomon MacFoy.
Other Bulldog scores were touchdowns by Jahade Adams, Watkins and Tyson Berry, in that order.
Chapel Hill (6-4, 3-3) is coached by Jeff Riordan and will meet Livingston High - which edged Huffman Hardgraves, 21-20 on Nov. 6 - at a site to be determined.