Henrietta pounded out 246 yards rushing in Friday’s 37-9 win over Bowie, but it was the Bearcat defense that set the tone in the game.
Of Henrietta’s four second-quarter touchdowns, three were made possible when the Bearcats forced turnovers deep in Bowie territory.
“We were stopping drives on turnovers, and we had short fields on turnovers. That’s what you are supposed to as an offense and a good football team: Get turnovers, short field, go score,” said Henrietta Head Coach Byron West. “I’m proud of our defense and the way they played.”
With the two teams tied at 7 and 8:36 left in the first half, defensive back Jaylon Curtis picked off a pass from Bowie quarterback Lawson Mickler at the 35-yard line, setting up a 10-yard touchdown run by Bearcat Cody Fletcher.
Hayden West ended Bowie’s next possession with an interception on the 11-yard line, setting up a 12-yard touchdown scramble by quarterback Riley Watson.
Dylan Galyean followed suit by recovering a Bowie fumble on the Jackrabbit 31-yard line. The turnover led to a one-yard touchdown run by Fletcher.
The undefeated Bearcats forced five turnovers in all. Austen Broussard and Bryce Schroeder claimed Bowie interceptions in the second half.
In the first minute of the game, Bowie took advantage when Henrietta fumbled the opening kickoff. Jackrabbit Kevin Stallcup scored from two yards to give Bowie the lead through the first quarter.
With Bowie up 7-0, Henrietta embarked on an 18-play drive, eating up most of the first quarter and ending in the second when Watson punched into the end zone from one yard out.
In the third quarter, Henrietta and Bowie traded out safeties before Watson scored the final touchdown of the game, a 14-yard strike with just over a minute remaining.
Henrietta tallied 299 yards total offense. Watson completed six of 11 pass attempts for 53 yards, including three passes to Fletcher for 12 yards, two to Curtis for 17 yards and a 24 yard connection with Mason Hanson.
Fletcher led the Bearcat ground game with 97 yards rushing on 15 carries. Watson finished with 94 yards on 12 carries. Hanson had 21 yards on seven carries and West had 18 yards on nine carries. Reed Latham and Leo Hunter carried the ball four times each for 12 and seven yards, respectively.
“Our running backs — from Cody to Leo, to Latham and Hayden — were just hammering people,” said West. “Our offensive line made it happen, but those guys were slamming it in the hole. And that’s what it takes to beat Bowie, I promise you.”
Jameson Dowell was accurate on all five extra-point kicks.
Henrietta’s defense held Bowie to 128 yards rushing on 42 carries. The Jackrabbits completed 12 of 23 pass attempts for 67 yards.
Leo Hunter led the team in tackles with seven, followed by Broussard with six. Fletcher and Schroeder had 5.5 tackles each, while Shane Basham had five.
Henrietta is off next week for Pioneer Reunion, and travels to Nocona Friday, Sept. 26 to open district play.