HENDERSONVILLE – Lebanon made plays on offense and defense, but Hendersonville made them on special teams when it counted as the Commandos rallied to defeat the Blue Devils 24-6 Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Trailing 10-6 early in the fourth quarter, Lebanon (1-2, 0-2) faced fourth down and a punt situation. Hendersonville (3-0, 2-0) managed to break the game open with a 44-yard punt return by Justin Orr with 8:49 left to give the Commandos a 17-6 lead.
On Lebanon’s next possession, Hendersonville’s Jarques Wordlaw blocked a punt, and Braden Schwerdt snagged the ball out of the air on the 1 and stepped into the end zone.
““We were even, I felt like, for most of the game,” said Lebanon head coach Sam Harp after his Blue Devils dropped to 1-2 for the season and 0-2 in District 9-AAA. “Special teams were our Achilles’ heel tonight as it was against Franklin County, and we’ve got to get that corrected. Honestly, we work very hard on special teams. I know what the breakdowns are and personnel changes are going to have to be done.”
Lebanon also felt the loss of starting tailback Taye Davis, who left the game apparently dehydrated during the first series of the third quarter.
“The kid, right now, he’s crying. He’s upset,” Harp said. “He feels like he’s let the team down. He hasn’t. He walks around all day long, all week long, with a jug of water at school and drinks. Last week, we had to give him an IV at halftime. We’ve been giving him pickle juice, Pedialite. He’s doing everything he can to hydrate. With his body makeup , it’s just breaking down the liquids.”
Davis had 74 yards on 18 carries in the first half.
Just as a blocked punt sealed Lebanon’s fate, another blocked punt late in the first put Hendersonville on the board first. The block by Drew Dillehay and recovery by Jack Peters at the Lebanon 33 set up a 32-yard run by Corey Jones to the Blue Devils’ 1 on the first play from scrimmage. Jones scored on the next play to give the Commandos a 7-0 lead.
On Lebanon’s next possession, the Blue Devils commanded a 13-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run by Davis to narrow the gap to 7-6.
Hendersonville’s Bryce DeGuira hit a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth to give the Commandos a 10-6 lead.
Hendersonville, which lost at Lebanon in last year’s finale to miss the playoffs, hasn’t lost since in improving to 3-0, 2-0 this season.
Lebanon will be at home next week to face Lincoln County at 7 p.m. Friday at Clifton Tribble Field/Danny Watkins Stadium.
Hendersonville 24, Lebanon 6
Lebanon 0 6 0 0—6
Hendersonville 7 0 0 17—24
HV—Corey Jones 1 run (Bryce DeGuira kick), :39.2.
LB—Taye Davis 11 run (kick failed), 5:56.
HV—DeGuira 26 FG, 11:10.
HV—Justin Orr 44 punt return (DeGuira kick), 8:49.
HV—Braden Schwerdt 1 punt return (DeGuira kick), 6:14.
First Downs 12 8
–Rushing 7 8
–Passing 4 0
–Penalty 1 0
Rushes-yards 46-127 30-203
Passing yards 55 0
Comp.-att.-int. 5-12-1 0-4-1
Punts-avg. 6-16.17 3-38.3
Penalties-yds. 4-45 7-55
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
RUSHING — Lebanon: J’Quan Jackson 1-(-2), Eddie McDaniels 1-12, Karlton Bruton 16-46, Christian Haffner 5-(-15), Adam Hokanson 2-(-1), Taye Davis 21-87. Hendersonville: Jon Reed 1-1, Morgan Nappier 1-4, Jack Peters 1-3, Jeremiah Elston 2-19, Jack Towe 4-33, Cameron Turner 1-2, Corey Jones 19-130, Anthony Tate 1-11.
PASSING — Lebanon: Haffner 5-12-1-55. Hendersonville: Elston 0-4-1-0.
RECEIVING— Julian Crutchfield 2-37, Hokanson 2-16, Bruton 1-2. Hendersonville: None.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.