HENDERSON — Henderson's Patrick Brown jogged to the sideline, tossed his helmet and laced his shoes back up. The Lions quarterback ran so much, his sneakers struggled to keep up with him.
He didn't want to miss the next play, either.
On behalf of a dominant ground game, Henderson gashed Bullard's defense to build a 14-point halftime lead. The Lions then continued to dart all over the Panthers for a 24-14 victory in the ETFinalScore.com Game of the Week on Friday night.
In front of a packed Lion Stadium filled with coats, hoodies and blankets, Henderson rushed for 271 yards in the first half alone en route to finishing the night with almost 400 yards on the ground. That helped the Lions improve to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in District 16-3A, which keeps them well in the thicket of the playoff race with fourth-ranked Kilgore on the schedule next week.
"We thought we had an advantage with our offensive line," Henderson coach Dickey Meeks said. "The game was in their hands. ...It really was a big win because you control your own destiny. It keeps you in good shape."
Bullard, which meets Gilmer next week with two games remaining, fell to records of 6-2 and 2-2 and is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason.
Brown finished the night with 22 carries for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns to pace the Lions rushing attack. The run-first quarterback scored on runs of 10 and 4 yards in the second quarter to help Henderson take a commanding 21-7 lead into the break.
Senior running Diamante Wright followed with 15 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown, scoring on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.
The Lions limited Bullard to just over 200 yards on the night, holding standout Panthers quarterback Colton Mebane to performances of 8 of 14 for 122 yards through the air and 15 carries for 39 yards on the ground. Panthers sophomore running back Brent Henderson carried the ball six times for 101 yards and two touchdowns, capping the game's scoring from 11 yards out with 1:31 left in the fourth.
Brown finished the first half with 14 carries for 114 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on runs of 10 and 4 yards in the second quarter to help the Lions take a 21-7 lead into the break. The senior's first score came on the second play of the second quarter, which followed a scoreless opening 12 minutes.
Bullard's only score of the half came on a 70-yard counter run by Brent Henderson, who took the ball around the right edge and saw only daylight between him and the end zone. The Panthers were limited to 139 plays during the half, plus were outgained 40-21 in plays and had the ball for only six minutes, five seconds — compared to Henderson's 17:05 time of possession.
Henderson 24, Bullard 14
At Lion Stadium, Henderson
Bullard 0 7 0 7 14
Henderson 0 21 3 0 24
HEN — Patrick Brown 10 run (William Mann kick), 11:07
BUL — Brent Henderson 70 run (Weston Gray kick), 10:23
HEN — Diamante Wright 1 run (Mann kick), 6:37
HEN — Brown 4 run (Mann kick), 3:06
HEN — FG Mann 24, 1:36
BUL — Henderson 11 run (Gray kick), 1:31
First Downs 12 21
Rushes-Yards 24-162 53-375
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-14-0 3-3-0
Passing Yards 122 18
Penalties-Yards 1-5 7-55
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Punts-Avg. 4-34.8 3-24.7
RUSHING — Bullard, Brent Henderson 6-101, Colton Mebane 15-39, Houston Alexander 2-15, Haden Bryant 1-7. Henderson, Patrick Brown 22-154, Diamante Wright 19-106, J'Korrie Centers 4-83, Jamal Kind 4-26, Tre' Hollins 1-5, Randy Davis 1-5, Janson Moore 2-(-4).
PASSING — Bullard, Mebane 8-14-0—122. Henderson, Brown 3-3-0—18.
RECEIVING — Bullard, Haden Bryant 2-39, Sal Guilano 2-34, Brentavian Henderson 1-7, Conner Mebane 1-10, Zack Holladay 1-11. Henderson, Jamie Anthony 1-3, Moore 1-14, Hollins 1-1.