Friday’s 9-AAA game between Hendersonville and Mt. Juliet had plenty of fireworks, and the Golden Bears made the biggest noise at the end.
Nolan Chowbay and fullback Contrez McCathern hooked up for a 54-yard touchdown pass and catch with 25 seconds left to give Mt. Juliet a 34-31 victory.
“This was just a great high school football game,” Mt. Juliet coach Roger Perry said. “We never gave up and that was the key tonight.”
The Commandos (2-4, 4-5 9-AAA) took a 31-27 lead with 1:20 left in the game when Jeremias Elston threw a screen pass to wingback Andrew Pate, who ran 81 yards for his third touchdowns of the game.
That forced the Golden Bears (8-1, 5-1) to score a touchdown quickly for the victory.
“That was actually Contrez’s first touchdown catch,” Perry said. “He was in the right place at the right time.”
The Golden Bears led 17-10 at the half after Chowbay hit wide receiver Jalen Graham on a 32-yard touchdown just before the break.
Hendersonville came out strong to start the second half, however, when Braden Schwerdt intercepted a Chowbay pass, ending Mt. Juliet’s first drive of the period. The Commandos then tied the score on their next possession with an 8-yard touchdown run from Colt Cupit with 7:17 remaining.
“Our kids just played hard,” Hendersonville Coach Bruce Hatfield said. “We prepared during the week and we talked about a lot of those things at the half.”
Mt. Juliet struck back as Chowbay again found Graham, this time for a 74-yard touchdown to give the Golden Bears a 24-17 lead.
Hendersonville answered on Pate’s second touchdown of the game, this time from the 3-yard line on fourth down.
Mt. Juliet regained the lead on a 44-yard field goal from Ryan Jenkins to make the score 27-24 with 3:07 remaining, setting up the last-minute scoring.
Mt. Juliet will play rival Wilson Central next Friday in a matchup of teams in the Midstate top 10 rankings. Hendersonville finishes up the regular season needing a win over Lebanon to get a Class 5A playoff berth.