HENNESSEY, Okla. —
Hennessey trailed for the first time in the 2012 2A state playoffs Friday, when visiting Washington returned a fumble 16 yards to open scoring with a 7-0 lead.
The deficit was shortlived.
Hennessey tied the game, then scored touchdowns on four straight posessions, racing through and past Washington in Friday’s second round, 56-21.
After the teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, Hennessey quarterback Dylan Hatchel hit a streaking Edgar Fierro just as the junior wide receiver hit the goal line on a 34-yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the second frame, giving Hennessey a 22-14 lead it wouldn’t surrender.
Octavio Pina converted a Hennessey fourth-and-2 into a 12-yard touchdown on the Eagles’ following drive, and one play after a Washington fumble, the Eagles scored their second of two touchdowns in 19 seconds when Hatchell completed a pass to Stephen Lott, who broke a tackle en route to a 41-yard score.
The back-to-back TDs gave Hennessey a 36-14 lead that Washington never could threaten.
“We had a scare,” Hatchel said. “We went down seven, and we were like, ‘Uh-oh.’ We realized that they weren’t going to back off, and it’s not going to be an easy week. Rattling off 28 in a row gave us a little room to work.”
The same cushion took the wind out of the upset-minded Warriors’ sails.
“It just killed us,” said senior Washington running back Zeke Zimmer. “It’s hard to come back from that, it really is.”
“They’ve won two (state titles) in a row, and when you’ve won two in a row, you’ve sort of figured out things this time of year,” Washington quarterback Brock Harmon said. “It was tough, but we fought hard, we didn’t quit, and that’s what I’m proud of.”
Hennessey’s defense bent, but rarely broke, solving its second option offense in as many weeks and holding Washington’s usually hard to stop ground game to 201 yards, 30 of which came on the game’s opening play from scrimmage.
“Defensively, for as skilled as they were, I thought we did a really good job containing them for most of the night,” said Hennessey head coach Rick Luetjen.
“(We were) just getting jammed up,” Zimmer said. “Hennessey made plays, and we couldn’t do anything about it.”
Levi Hill rushed for 283 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries for Hennessey and Hatchel finished with 159 yards and two scores on 10-for-12 passing and a 1-yard touchdown run.
Harmon finished with 129 yards and a score on 19 carries and completed eight of 17 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Washington couldn’t extend its win streak to eight games, but followed a 5-6 run in 2011 to finish 8-4.
“I feel like we overcame a lot from last season,” Zimmer said. “We should have won state with this team. It’s a tough break. Hennessey’s a good team. A great team.”
Hennessey will visit Vian, which beat Kansas 76-26 on Friday to advance to the 2A state quarterfinal round at 7:30 p.m. in Vian.
“Obviously, (Vian is) really good,” Hatchel said. “We’re going to have prepare really this week.”