HENDERSONVILLE An annual cross-town rivalry lived up to its billing, with Beech surviving a last-second field goal attempt to escape with a 24-23 victory over Hendersonville.
The Buccaneers scored on senior Chris Peach’s 21-yard scamper with 1:38 remaining, though Hendersonville still had enough timeouts to get two possessions before a 45-yard attempt from Jacob Harris fell short as time expired.
Beech (3-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 6-5A) is tied with Cane Ridge for the region lead, and the Buccaneers will host the Ravens next week. Hendersonville fell to 2-2 and 0-2 in region play after suffering back-to-back losses for the first time since 2013.
Six things that shaped Friday’s contest:
Five yards will cost you one point
Hendersonville was flagged five times for 51 yards, but what turned out to be the most costly of them came on a conversion attempt after Weston Schwerdt’s 15-yard touchdown run with 1:34 left in the third quarter. The Commandos were hit with an illegal substitution penalty after breaking the huddle with 12 players, and the five-yard setback ended any idea of going for a two-point conversion. Hendersonville led 16-10 after the extra point, but the possibility of another point on top of that could have changed the outcome.
“It happened to us last week at Cane Ridge, too,” Hendersonville senior Daly Cull said. “We’ve got Hillsboro next week, and there can’t be any more losses. We’ve got to grind out the rest of the year.”
Reverse, reverse … pass?
Beech opened the bag of tricks in the fourth quarter after falling behind 23-10 with less than 10 minutes to play.
Less than three minutes later, Ty Dean took the second pitch on a reverse and found a wide open Ty Moore at the goal line for a 24-yard touchdown that cut the Commandos’ lead to six points (23-17) with 7:11 to play.
It was also Dean’s first pass attempt in high school football.
Follow the bouncing ball
Brett Coker’s pass to Weston Schwerdt put the Commando senior inside Beech’s 5-yard line when Schwerdt fumbled. But his bobble turned into a boon as the bouncing ball bounded into the end zone, where Jordan Amis fell on it to give Hendersonville a touchdown and a 23-10 lead.
I’ll take 23 carries for 117, Alex
Alex Vanzant carried the bulk of the rushing work for Beech with a game-high 117 yards on 23 carries, though Peach and Chaz Williamson found the end zone for the Buccaneers. Vanzant ran for a first down on five of his carries.
“He just wanted it too bad,” Peach said. “We didn’t care what the score was (at halftime), we were going to get it.”
Beech ran the ball 10 times on its opening possession, chewing up 5:58 before Williamson’s fumble – which was Beech’s lone turnover of the game – ended the drive just inside Hendersonville’s 40-yard line. The Buccaneers had 29 consecutive rushing attempts before a pass was thrown – in the third quarter.
Hendersonville scored a safety when a high punt snap sailed over Beech punter David Johnson’s head and toward the end zone. Johnson retrieved the loose ball, but as the Commandos’ Derek Kincaid caught him and tried to tackle him in the end zone, Johnson attempted to throw a pass, resulting in an intentional grounding penalty. The Commandos took a 9-7 lead at the time, which was the advantage they carried into halftime.
Holding Hughes back
Hendersonville junior running back Anthony Hughes had rushed for at least 138 yards in each of his first three games.
Beech’s defense held him to 36 yards on 10 carries, though Hughes did catch two passes for 47 yards.
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @CB_SumnerSports, and on Snapchat @cbrooksgne.