With a team plagued by injuries, Henrietta’s football season game to a close Friday night with a 10-0 loss to Hamilton in the bi-district round of the state playoffs.
Although their post season was cut short, the Bearcats remained the team with the longest continuous run of playoff appearances in the Wichita Falls area.
The biggest factor in Friday’s game was an injured Joseph Costa, the team’s starting center and a lead tackler on defense. Costa suffered a broken bone in his left foot, suffered during a practice prior to Henrietta’s game against Alvord.
Starting quarterback Kolten Booher’s role was diminished in Friday’s game. While Booher, who has suffered a number of injuries this season, including a concussion early on, is recovering from a foot injury suffered against Alvord.
“It’s difficult when you take him out of our offense, and everything is built around him,” said Henrietta Head Coach Byron West.
West said that it would have been nice to have the center, and for his team to be healthy, “But that’s football, and I’m proud of them.”
To make matters worse, two Bearcats, receiver Jake Sanchez and lineman Tanner Himes went down during the game.
Both teams struggled offensively in the bi-district matchup.
Hamilton led 7-0 at halftime after a punting away the ball. The short punt came down on a Henrietta player and the Bulldogs recovered at the Bearcat 48-yard line. Concentrating on short plays up the middle, Hamilton ate up the second quarter clock. The Bulldogs scored six plays later on a 28-yard scamper by quarterback Brayden Payne.
Hamilton scored again in the fourth on a 23-yard field goal by Payne.
Peyton Nolen picked off a Henrietta pass to give Hamilton possession at its own 20-yard line. The Bulldogs drove 67 yards in 13 plays, and into field goal range.
Henrietta had two opportunities to score in the fourth quarter, both ending in interceptions.
Henrietta quarterback Ben Fletcher connected with C.D. Crumpton on two passes leading up to Hamilton’s field goal drive, including the 25-yard pass play that moved the Bearcats into Bulldog territory. Following the field goal, Henrietta’s Cole Alford recovered a Hamilton on-side kick at the Bearcat 45. Booher was sacked early in the drive, but followed three plays later with a first-down completion to Alford. Booher scramble to the 40, but the drive ended with an interception inside the 40 with less than a minute remaining.
Fletcher led the team in passing with two completions on seven attempts for 49 yards, while Booher competed three of seven passes for 29 yards. Henrietta threw three interceptions.
The Bearcats totaled 78 yards passing and 54 yards rushing.
Crumpton had five receptions for 65 yards and Alford had one catch for 13 yards.
Dalton Day led Henrietta’s efforts on the ground with five carries for 35 yards, including s 26-yard jaunt in the first quarter. Booher had eight carries for 19 yards and Ethan Cantrell carried five times for nine yards.
Hamilton finished with nine yards passing and 294 yards rushing. The Bulldogs had 15 first downs, to Henrietta’s five.
Henrietta linebackers Coty McKelvey, Korben Allen and Crumpton had a big night on defense. McKelvey finished with 17 tackles, including seven solos, and Allen had 15 tackles with eight solos. Crumpton had 14 tackles with five solo tackles.
Henrietta lost two of four fumbles, while Hamilton lost one of three.
Hamilton advances to face defending state champion Idalou next week for the area title.