After defeating heavily-favored Corsicana Mildred in the bi-district round one week earlier, the Bearcats became the last team in District 5-2A to fall from the Division II state playoffs Friday night to state powerhouse Cooper.
The Bulldogs took a decisive 64-20 win over the Bearcats with a smash-mouth running game that proved difficult to stop. Cooper rushed the ball 33 times for 470 yards total offense. They did not pass, they did not punt.
Wet weather and cold temperatures limited Henrietta’s passing game, a key aspect of the Bearcat offense. Henrietta completed one of seven pass attempts, finishing with minus three yards. The Bearcats rushed for 168 yards on 38 carries, earning every inch.
Cooper held a 30-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Henrietta’s first touchdown was set up in the second quarter by the Bearcat defense when Logan Carter stripped the ball from a Bulldog running back, and carried it more than 60 yards to the 1 yard line. Bearcat quarterback Riley Watson followed with a one-yard plunge into the end zone.
The Bearcats scored again in the second on a hook-and-ladder play, allowing Dustin Calabrese the running room to strike from 59 yards out. Jameson Dowell split the uprights for a second time.
Watson came out with a possible concussion late in the second half, leaving the Bearcats to go through a rotation of quarterbacks. Running Back Cody Fletcher filled the role through the remainder of the half. Brother Conner Fletcher stepped into the pocket through the second half.
Cooper matched Henrietta score-for-score in the second quarter for a 46-14 halftime, and added three touchdowns in the third quarter. The Bulldogs scored on a fumble recover in the first quarter, and a 32-yard punt return in the third.
Henrietta’s final touchdown of the season came on a fourth quarter four-yard run from Calabrese. The point after attempt failed.
The Bearcats finish the season with a 7-5 record with only one loss in district play.