In a more balanced attack than their first two football outings, the Henry County Wildcats continued their dominant defensive play and their offense stepped up, resulting in a 32-12 victory at Trimble County on Friday night.
The Wildcats, who defeated Pike County Central and South Oldham in the first two weeks, held Trimble to just 102 total yards in 48 plays from the line of scrimmage, including 73 rushing yards and 29 passing. Meanwhile, the Cats moved the ball for a season-high 393 yards, 137 on the ground and 256 in the air. Through their first three weeks, Henry has outscored its opponents 65-18.
“We played solid defense to give our offense the opportunities it needed, and our offense definitely started to get its wheels rolling,” HCHS coach Chris Engstrand said of his team’s balanced play against Trimble. “I was very pleased with our effort. Our players are enthusiastic and working hard to get better.”
Henry’s defense continued to hold its own against a team that started the season with a 48-0 win over Atherton on Aug. 22 and had the second week off. The Wildcats allowed just one touchdown from Trimble’s offense, with the other touchdown coming on an interception that was returned to the end zone.
Offensively, the Wildcats were just as impressive. Quarterback Luke Magness was 15-of-23 passing for 256 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The 6-foot-1 junior also kept the ball 12 times for 54 yards. Engstrand said senior receivers Lance Timberlake and Trevor Raisor also stepped up, both playing their best game this year. Timberlake caught three passes for 104 yards, and Raisor caught six for 41.
“Lance, offensively, had a breakout game,” Engstrand said. “And I thought Trevor had a great game as well. He worked very hard for some of those tough, gut-it-out type plays. None of his yards were easy.”
In return, Magness had his best game, statistically, through three weeks. He has thrown for 556 yards so far.
Engstrand also wanted to point out the offensive line, which gave Mangess enough time in the pocket and allowed Zach Rahm to run the ball eight times for 53 yards. The team decided to juggle the big men, moving Clint Nutter back to his more natural position at center, Chris Price back to guard and Ben Ingraband to tackle, while leaving Dylan Doll and Darien Ingram in their positions. It was just the combination Magness and the running backs needed.
“We had outstanding protection,” Engstrand said. “Being able to finally run the ball was what we wanted to do. I felt pleased with all those guys on the line.”
Against Trimble, Henry jumped out to a 12-0 lead following the first quarter and held a 32-6 lead at the half. During the second half, the Wildcats had just four drives and could not reach the end zone.
Rahm scored Henry’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run with 7:27 remaining in the first quarter. One minute later, after Henry forced Trimble into a turnover, Magness found Timberlake for a 32-yard touchdown pass play to put Henry ahead 12-0.
The Wildcats reached the end zone three times during the second quarter and put 20 more points on the scoreboard. Magness and Timberlake hooked up for another touchdown play — this time on a 40-yard play; Rahm picked up a fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown; and Magness kept the ball on a 1-yard carry.
“We found some things we still need to work on and did a better job in the second half,” Engstrand said. “We’re in good shape and progressing.”
After the 3-0 start, the Wildcats will host Owen County this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Owen had the first week off, then took a 17-10 loss to Grant County and defeated Gallatin County, 13-7, last Friday.
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