Bucs pirate the Battle for Hendersonville
Photo by Don McPeak
Story by Zach Womble/Hendersonville Standard
HENDERSONVILLE – In a battle for the City of Hendersonville Friday night, it was the visiting Buccaneers that pirated their way to an 18-17 victory.
Trailing 17-6 with just over three minutes remaining in the game, Beech capitalized on two Hendersonville mishandled punts – one by Andrew Martin and the other from Carter O’Bryan.
Both mishandled punts came deep inside the Commandos’ own territory, one fumble being recovered at the 32 and the other at the 19.
On the first mishandled punt, Beech took over with 4:32 left in the game.
Ja’Sean Parks ran 12 yards on two carries before Adrian Johnson burst through the middle for a 20-yard score with just over 3:30 left in the game.
“When they muffed that first punt,” Beech coach Anthony Crabtree said of when he felt the momentum flip in his favor. “They did a good job of controlling field position up until that point, then we were able to get some momentum once we stuck it in.”
Desperately needing a first down on its next series, Hendersonville drew up three straight run plays that yielded just eight yards.
From there, disaster struck again for the Commandos.
O’ Bryan failed to catch the snap on a punt was tackled at his own 19-yard line, giving Beech great field position with plenty of time to spare.
Needing just 19 yards in three minutes, Beech ran four plays before getting to the Commando 8-yard line and calling a timeout.
“We were trying to hammer them all night long, so we had a good idea they would try and squeeze up front,” Crabtree said. “We thought it would be a good idea to get outside of them and our quarterback [Xaviere Jones] was able to do that.”
Facing third-and-goal, Jones bootlegged right for the go-ahead score with only 40 seconds remaining.
The game ended on a short pass from Hohenbrink to Jacob Newton for only five yards.
“I feel like we should have won that game,” Hendersonville coach James Beasley said. “I feel like I cost our team this game. I didn’t prepare us for those situations in the game. I have to do a better job of getting our team ready for end-of-game situations and try to make sure we finish out games we have under control.”
Beasley is correct in saying the Commandos should have come out of Friday night with the victory, but the reality is they won the battle, and Beech won the war.
Offensively, Hendersonville outgained Beech in total yards and time of possession, but it was the Buccaneers that left Hendersonville High School 4-0.
“Offensively, we laid an egg tonight,” Crabtree said. “We made mistake after mistake and you’ve got to give Hendersonville a little credit for playing their tails off and having a good scheme and getting after us. It took some special teams plays to get back in it, and fortunately, that worked out for us, and we were able to capitalize in the fourth quarter. It didn’t look good at the end of the third quarter, but special teams were big tonight.”
Beech clung to a 6-0 lead following two Corey Edwards field goals before Hendersonville’s Andrew Martin cut the lead to 6-3 with a 25-yard field goal before halftime.
Hendersonville marched down the field to open the second half with a 10-play, 80-yard drive for the 10-6 lead.
Following a forced punt, Hendersonville pushed its lead to 17-6 on the next drive when Drew Hohenbrink plowed his way into the end zone for his second score of the game.
From that point on, Beech scored 12 unanswered points to win the game.
The loss dropped Hendersonville to 2-2 on the season. The Commandos hit the road for an important region game at Lebanon next week.
The Bucs will go on the road to play Hunters Lane.
“I think we will take a ton of confidence from this win,” Crabtree added. “We found a way to win when things didn’t look good. When you have one phase of your game that isn’t playing well, in this case our offense, and are still able to find a way to win, that is huge.”