HENDERSON - The Henderson Lions turned in a signature win to end what many around Rusk County would consider a disappointing season with a thorough 30-10 victory overDistrict 9-4A, Division I top-seed Kilgore on Friday night at Lion Stadium.
Matthew Childers and J.T. Boone combined for 317 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way as the Lions rolled against their arch-rival Kilgore, completing a 7-3 overall season, but only 2-3 in district play.
Kilgore (7-3) had a chance to win the outright championship, but settled for a co-champioship with Carthage, both finishing 4-1 in 9-4A, Division I play. Kilgore, under Coach Mike Wood, is the top seed with its win earlier this season over Carthage.
A mirror image of what happened a year ago when the Lions came to Kilgore in the regular-season finale … and lost to the Bulldogs, who struggled for most of the year with injuries. Henderson was down seven starters from the start of this season when Boone was the third-string running back on the depth chart.
Childers rushed for 209 yards, scoring on runs of 7 and 75 yards, while Boone, also a junior, added 108 yards and scored the final touchdown bulling in from 2 yards out..
Henderson outgained Kilgore in total yardage, 450 to 234.
Ja'Quorius Smith led the Bulldogs with 179 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Patrick "Buddy" Jackson added 21 yards rushing and threw for a touchdown on a 15-yard completion to Jesus Avalos, who finished with two catches for 18 yards.
Leading 6-0 late in the second quarter, Henderson's Julio Cervantes stretched the lead to 9-points with a 19-yard field goal.
Henderson scored on its first possession of the third quarter, moving 59 yards in just five plays against a Kilgore defense that seemed to struggle at times. Trae Halls stretched the lead to 17-0 on a 35-yard run with 9:12 left in the period.
Kilgore answered with its only touchdown of the evening on Jackson's completion to Avalos to cap a 6-play, 67-yard march with 6:37 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs, who had won seven in a row, coming into the contest, pulled to within a touchdown, 17-10, on Christian Galvan's 39-yard field goal with 9:17 left in the ballgame.
Henderson promptly retaliated with a 75-yard scoring run by Childers, and wrapped things up with Boone's first touchdown of the season with 25 seconds left to play.
Henderson came out and dominated from the beginning of the game. Kilgore ran out of downs on its first possession at the Henderson 38. Kilgore punter Livan Torres put the Lions in a hole at the Henderson five with his first kick of the contest.
Boone and Childers shared times running the football in a 9-play, 95-yard march that culminated with Childers scoring on a 7-yard keeper with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter. The Lions went to the air twice with Trae Hall completing a 3-yard completion to Childers, and Childers hitting Tariq Gray for 24 yards.
The Lions second possession ended with an interception by Kilgore's Isaiah Smith at the Kilgore two yard line. Smith broke his longest run of the evening, going 63 yards. This time, the Kilgore drive stalled at the Lions' 36.