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Clarksville, TN – The Henry County Patriots pounded out 270 total yards and five touchdowns on the ground to eliminate the Northeast Eagles in state semifinal football play, 43-14.
“It feels good. Didn’t make it last year, back this year, It feels good. The kids deserve it.They played hard,” Henry County’s head coach James Counce said. “Northeast is a very good football team, well coached. They have a lot of talent.”After the Eagles struck first, the Patriots scored 21 unanswered points in the second and third quarters.
The explosive Eagles quarterback, Montrell Pardue, was held to negative rushing yards and completed only 4 of 11 passes, including one touchdown in the game.
The Patriots defense also contained Eagles running back Dontavious Fort-Merriweather. After rushing for 88 yards and a touchdown in the first half, he was held to negative rushing yards in the second.
“We thought we were better prepared than we were the first time we played,” Counce said. “They jumped out on us with their speed in the first game. We did a little better job, of course they got the first score tonight with their speed, but we did a better job containing their speed this time.”
While the Eagles ground game was slowed to a crawl, the Patriots lined up in the I-formation and powered their way up and down the field all night.
“Did what we do offensively, hit people in the mouth, play physical,” Counce said.
Patriot Chase Henderson ignited the run game in the first half. He had 9 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with an injury.
After Henderson left the game, Jeremiah Godbott came in and rushed for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Turnovers by the Eagles made the Patriots game more effective, by giving them a short field.
“Turnovers were huge,” Eagles head coach Isaac Shelby said. “We committed too many of them and gave our defense a short field a bunch of times. It changed the way we wanted to play. Henry County is just a real good team.”
On the second play of the Eagles ensuing offensive drive, Pardue fumbled a bad snap and the Patriots recovered the ball on the Eagles 25-yard line.
It took five plays for the Patriots to score again and go into halftime ahead 21-7.
“It gave them a short field and they ended up scoring on it because they are a good team and that is what good teams do,” Shelby said. “We just dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of.”
Two penalties at the beginning of the second half placed the Patriots right back in scoring position.
Godbott’s second touchdown, a four yard dash, extended the Patriots lead to 28-7 at 10:42 in the third quarter.
After a touchdown in the first quarter the Eagles did not score again until 8 minutes left in the game. Pardue threw an 7-yard strike to Fort-Merriweather for his only touchdown pass.
Fort-Merriweather was also responsible for the Eagles first touchdown. He scrambled 78 yards to the end zone on the Eagles second offensive drive. It was the Eagles biggest offensive play of the game.
“They are really fast, really strong and really well coached. They had a great game plan on us,” Shelby said.
R’tario Perkins rushed 8 yards for a Patriots last touchdown. The Patriots last score was a safety with less than a minute remaining in the game.
The Patriots will play Knoxville’s West High Rebels in the State Championship Friday, December 6th.
Marlon Scott is a freelance journalist and writer. He graduated from Austin Peay State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Communications, majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in print and web journalism.
His writing career began as a sports writer for The All State, the APSU student newspaper, in 2006. He continued working for the paper until his graduation, serving in various positions including Sports Editor and Editor-in-Chief.
In 2010, Scott contributed stories and photographs as well as designed and served as Editor-in-Chief for the monograph, Civic Art of Clarksville: The stories behind the pieces.
Scott has also produced 60 stories for The Leaf Chronicle.
You can find him on twitter @theMarlonScott and on Facebook
TopicsClarksville TN, Eagles, Henry County, Henry County High School, Henry County Patriots, Henry County Patriots Football, Isaac Shelby, Northeast High Eagles, Northeast High School, Patriots
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