CARTHAGE - The Carthage Bulldogs fell behind unbeaten Henderson 22-0 in the first half and couldn’t come all the way back, dropping its first game of the season 36-28 before an overflow crowd at Bulldog Stadium on Friday.
The Bulldogs dropped to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in District 9-4A Division I, while Henderson moved its overall record to 6-0 and improved to 2-0 in the league.
The Lions declared the Carthage passing game null and void in the first two quarters as senior quarterback Kason Davis was 5 for 19 through the air for 105 yards and an interception prior to intermission. Davis, however, came back to complete 14 of 18 passes for 216 yards in the second half. One of his completions for a 52-yard screen pass to Keaontay Ingram for a touchdown. For the night, Davis went 19 for 37 for 311 yards and two scores.
Ingram also shouldered the brunt of the ground game with 25 carries for 144 yards. Ingram’s counterpart, TCU commit La’Kendrick Vanzandt, was as good as advertised. The bullish runner gained 196 yards on 18 carries and a pair of TDs while missing most of the final quarter with an apparent injury.
The Lions took the opening kickoff and punted on fourth-and-12. Carthage scrimmaged from its 20-yard line and Davis was intercepted on the first play and returned to the Henderson 28. Five plays later, quarterback Trae Hall connected with Demarcus O’Quinn for a 5-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal. The conversion put the Lions in front 7-0 with 7 minutes, 23 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs began their next drive at their 21 and gave the ball back to Henderson after failing to gain a first down on fourth-and-2 at the Carthage 37-yard line.
Taking advantage of another short field, the Lions covered the necessary real estate in five plays and took a 15-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Trestan Ebner – another TCU commit.
On the next offensive series, the Dogs marched from their 30-yard line to the Henderson 19 before and pass fell incomplete on fourth down, returned the ball to the No. 6-ranked Lions.
The Lions drove 81 yards in only five plays to take a 22-0 advantage with 9:50 remaining in the second quarter on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Ebner.
Carthage failed to gain first-down yardage on its next drive and punted the ball away. However, this time it was Henderson which made the costly mistake when Vanzandt fumbled at the Lions’ 35 and Mykel Gates recovered for the Dogs. It took nine plays to penetrate the goal line with Ingram scoring the first Carthage TD of the night on a 6-yard run. The PAT cut the Henderson lead to 22-7 with 1:59 to go before halftime.
Each team scored again before intermission. Henderson tacked on seven more points on a 72-yard scamper by Vanzandt while Ingram took a screen pass from Davis and sped 59 yards for a touchdown to leave the Bulldogs within striking distance, 29-13, at the break.
The Lions scored on their first offensive series of the third quarter on a 3-yard dive by Vanzandt to lead 36-13 but Carthage answered quickly when Davis and receiver Dewaylon Ingram connected on a 1-yard TD pass to cap an 88-yard drive. The touchdown left the Dogs trailing 36-20 with 5:31 left in the third period.
Midway of the fourth quarter, Carthage scored the final touchdown of the contest after Gates recovered his second fumble, giving his team the ball at the Dogs’ 26-yard line.
Keaontay Ingram eventually found pay dirt on the 12th play of the 74-yard scoring march with a 1-yard dive. A reverse pass from Ingram to Davis ended in a successful 2-point conversion and the Dogs had pulled within 36-28 with 3:43 on the clock.
Henderson recovered the onside kick, picked up two first downs and went into “victory” formation to close out the game.