Following a two-hour lightning delay, the Hendersonville Commandos clinched their first perfect home season since 2016 with a 42-21 win against Rossview Friday night.
In their five games played at Paul Decker Field this season, the Commandos have outscored their opponents 183-38.
“It’s just always nice to play at home, in front of your home crowds, your student body and all those things,” said Hendersonville head coach James Beasley. “Our players feel more comfortable out here, so it’s a big deal for us to play at home.”
Partially due to the conditions, the game lacked in offense early on. Both teams exchanged punts until the conclusion of the Hawks’ third drive on the evening. Senior Keion Stafford scored the first points for either team off a 50-yard blocked punt that was recovered by the Commandos.
Rossview would respond early in the second quarter. After a 59-yard run from Diivonta Phillips, quarterback Garrett Diemel would find Aaron Bolster in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. Brent Rowe and the Hendersonville offense answered with a score of their own two drives later and would have an opportunity to extend their lead to 10 before the break. A swatted field goal attempt from the Hawks kept Rossview within striking distance at halftime.
Rowe, Luke Manning and Jack Brown came into the third quarter hot for the offense, scoring on four of their seven drives before the final whistle. The defense additionally paid dividends in the final two quarters, having an interception and a fumble recovery to boast. Beasley claimed that, while he could have better helped his team prepare during their extended delay, their intensity in the third and fourth quarters was much needed for the victory.
The Hawks would score twice more on special teams in the fourth quarter, thanks to kickoff and punt return touchdowns from Bolster and Parker Kirkpatrick, respectively. The loss puts Rossview in a win-or-go-home situation next week at Lebanon. Hawks head coach Todd Hood put less emphasis on the upcoming matchup, stating every game to be important near the end of the season.
“It’s a football game, just like this was a game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who it is, we just have to go play and do the things we’re supposed to do. If we execute and play better, we’ll win the game. If we go out there and play like we did tonight, we couldn’t beat the sisters of the poor.”
Hendersonville will play for the Region 4-6A championship on Oct. 30 at Mt. Juliet High School. Although a comparison of common opponents would give HHS an edge, the Commandos coach is more focused on matching the excitement and energy held by a hosting Golden Bears squad.
“I don’t think you can look at how (Mt. Juliet) played against a team and how we played against a team and think that’s going to dictate anything in a game. I know this; they’re going to be a well-coached team. They’re going to be ready to play, they’re going to be excited and they’re going to be amped up at their home. We have to prepare to match that intensity and be ready to play. We’re going to enjoy this one for the rest of the night, what little bit of the night is left, and get started looking at Mt. Juliet tomorrow.”