Wildcats lose third straight, fall to Hendersonville, 30-9

Kaitlyn Hungerford • The Lebanon Democrat

Wilson Central linebacker Josh Rodriguez (11) and defensive back Zach Hudson (24) chase Hendersonville running back Ellis Ellis (10).

HENDERSONVILLE -- Wilson Central fell to Hendersonville in the Commando homecoming by a score of 30-9 Friday night.

After being on the receiving end of a 16-0 shutout with 5A juggernaut Gallatin, the Wildcats looked to avoid a three-game skid with a win over the Commandos. Following a loss to the Eagles of Independence, Hendersonville looked to end its three-game losing streak. They showed this effort in the first quarter, as Andrew Martin nailed a 41-yard field goal to put Hendersonville up 3-0.

Wilson Central gave the ball up, and the Commandos went right back to work. Second-year quarterback Drew Hohenbrink connected with Keion Stafford for a touchdown pass good for 25 yards and a 10-point Hendersonville lead. This score locked in for the remainder of the first quarter.

The second quarter kept the Commandos silent as the Wildcats pushed for a comeback. Zavier Ali, who missed the Gallatin game with an ankle injury, returned with a vengeance. He powered his way downfield multiple times for the Wildcats, and Tristan Lewis capped off a drive with a 32-yard strike to Justin Smith, who dove into the end zone for a touchdown. Alex Atwell missed the PAT wide left, and the WIldcats were now trailing 10-6. This score stayed until the half, as neither team could put together a scoring drive. Kolbe Pickett and C.J. Hatchett both left the game with injuries, and C.J. Morrow came in to propel his way to a handful of first downs.

The third quarter was full of both scoring and controversy. Atwell started the scoring on the Wildcats' first drive of the half. He sent a 40-yard field goal between the uprights to decrease their trail to

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a point. This was familiar territory for Hendersonville, as several of their games came to a touchdown or less difference.

On a play that could've been a momentum killer for Hendersonville, the Wildcats picked Hohenbrink's pass off, but Stafford stripped the ball out and took it for a 31-yard score. This extended the Commando lead to eight.

This is where the penalties started to rain down, though. After an altercation between the teams, two Commandos were ejected from the game. This gave the Wildcats a spark, but they were unable to capitalize on it. The score stood at 17-9 headed into the final quarter of play.

Hendersonville scored twice more in the final 12 minutes. The first touchdown came on a play in which Hohenbrink was almost sacked. But he escaped pressure and fired a 32-yard pass to Issiah Chandler for a score. Not long after, the Commandos took a 30-9 lead with a 28-yard touchdown run by Chandler. This 21-point margin remained until time expired, giving Hendersonville its third win and the Wildcats' third loss.

Wilson Central managed 283 yards of offense on 59 snaps. Lewis was responsible for 120 of those on 9-of-13 passing. Ali rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries in his return, and the Wildcats rushing core ran for 163 yards as a whole.

Hendersonville's Hohenbrink managed to complete 7 of his 13 passes for 145 yards, and Chandler led Commando rushers with 91 yards on 10 attempts.

Penalties were detrimental, as the Wildcats gave up 125 yards on 15 penalties, and the Commandos had seven flags for 75 yards.

The Wildcats dropped to 4-3 (1-2) and will host the Wolverines of LaVergne on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. can be seenon both MyTV30 and the NFHS Network.

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