After a rough start, Henrietta came out in the second half of Friday’s district opener to score three touchdowns in the second half and join the top tier of teams in 3-AA Div. II.
Dalton Day sealed the game for the Bearcats with a 36-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Day’s scamper, with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the game, and the extra-point kick, put Henrietta up 25-12.
Jacksboro tried to mount a comeback with a solid drive down field, but the 13-point lead put any chance of a win out of reach for the Tigers. With Jacksboro on Henrietta’s 20-yard line, the game ended when Kolby Hoff sacked Tiger quarterback Kirk Weldon.
Turnovers killed the ‘Cats in the first two quarters.
“We averaged a little over five yards a carry in the first half,” said Henrietta Head Coach Byron West. “We threw a pick and had two turnovers that stopped drives. We had a holding that hurt us. I think we should have gone in (at halftime) with two or three touchdowns, but we didn’t and that’s football.”
Eight plays into the first drive of the game, Jacksboro’s Dylan Irvin picked off a Henrietta pass and took it to the Bearcat’s 37-yard line. The interception set up a touchdown pass from Reid Spiller to McCall Maddox from 29 yards out. The two-point conversion failed and Jacksboro too a 6-0 lead.
Henrietta pounded away at the Tigers with its running game, but fumbled the ball away, closing the first quarter with a six-point deficit.
The Bearcats opened the second quarter with possession, driving to Jacksboro’s 7-yard line, but again fumbled. The Tigers took over at their own 11.
Freshman Bearcat Jameson Dowell put Henrietta on the scoreboard with a 39-yard field goal midway through the second for a 6-3 halftime score.
Henrietta’s Zach Byers recovered the onside kick to open the second half, setting up a 10-play touchdown drive. With the Bearcats in a second-and-18 situation, Day rumbled 23 yards for first-and-goal at the 5-yard line. Day scored on the next play. Dowell’s kick was good, putting the Bearcats up 10-6.
Jacksboro used its next possession to go on a 17-play drive before turning the ball over on downs at Henrietta’s 10-yard line. C.D. Crumpton batted down a Jacksboro pass in the end zone, disrupting the Tigers’ momentum.
Jacksboro scored again just two minutes into the fourth quarter with a lateral from Spiller to Weldon, who then connected with Maddox downfield. The two-point conversion failed and the 32-yard play put Jacksboro on top 12-10.
Byers called for fair catch on the ensuing kickoff at the Bearcat 37 yard-line, and Henrietta went on a 14-play drive that ended in a six-yard touchdown from Kolten Booher. Booher followed with a two-point conversion for the 18-12 lead with 3:23 remaining.
The defensive play of Crumpton set up Henrietta’s final score. On Jacksboro’s first play after taking the Henrietta kickoff, Crumpton and David Bowles brought down Jacksboro’s Blake Smith with an open-field tackle and Crumpton stripped the ball.
“We played good and responded well,” said West of the second half. “We tried to turn it on there at the end.”
Differences in the two teams are most obvious in the game stats. Henrietta outpaced Jacksboro with its running game, taking 46 carries for 260 yards while the Tigers rushed 29 times for 50 yards. Jacksboro 14 of 22 passes for 240 yards, while the Bearcats completed one of three passes for 10 yards. Henrietta had 16 first downs to Jacksboro’s 14.
Booher led all rushers with 25 carries for 112 yards and one touchdown, followed by Day with 12 carries for 104 yards.