GALLATIN - A 14-14 ball game quickly got out of hand Friday night at the Wave Yard, as Hendersonville scored 28 unanswered points, claiming a 42-21 victory over Gallatin. The Commandos rushed for over 400 yards and finished with over 500 yards of total offense, all while limiting the Green Wave to 394 yards total.
Green Wave running back Ladarius Stewart finished the game with 99 yards on 21 carries, but it was Jalen Porter who scored the Wave's first two touchdowns of the game. Porter found the end zone on a 15- and 52-yard run.
Running backs Anthony Hughes and Derek Kincaid reached the century mark against the stout Green Wave defense. Kincaid finished the night with 164 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Hughes finished with 135 yards and two touchdowns.
"It feels good seeing Derek run the ball the way he did tonight," Hughes said of his teammate. "I feel confident anytime he has the ball, really anytime any of us have the ball I feel good."
The Commandos carried a 28-14 lead into the locker room after scoring 14 unanswered points to break the 14-14 tie.
"We came together as a team and we weren't going to be denied a win tonight," Zach Rockom said after the win. "Our two backs are some of the best around, they make it work. We were happy with it."
Hendersonville drew first blood on its second possession of the game, driving 55 yards on 10 plays. The drive was capped on a Hughes 23-yard scamper up the gut, eight minutes into the first quarter. Place kicker Ashton Dodd connected on all six of his extra points.
The Green Wave quickly responded, going 80 yards on five plays for the score. Porter scored his first touchdown of the game following a pass-and-catch of 60 yards from quarterback Ander Sloan to running back Ladarius Stewart down the right sideline on a wheel route.
After forcing a punt on defense, Gallatin looked poised to claim its first lead of the ball game. Facing first-and-20 from the Commando 40-yard line, Sloan fumbled the ball giving the Commandos excellent field position.
Hughes carried the first play 40 yards inside the Gallatin 20 before Kincaid took over, scoring his first touchdown of the game on a 28-yard pitch-and-catch with 7:37 left in the half.
Gallatin responded with its second touchdown of the half on a Porter 52-yard run down the right sideline. The Wave didn't score again until the fourth quarter.
Hughes notched his second touchdown of the first half with just over two minutes until the break. The Green Wave punted after failing to reach a first down. Taking the ball at its own 45 following the punt, Hendersonville marched down the field before Kincaid found the end zone from 10 yards out with 15 seconds left in the half for the 28-14 advantage.
Gallatin opened its first series on offense in the second half with a punt, which then led to quality field position for the Commandos. Hendersonville needed just four plays to cover 56 yards before Kincaid found the end zone from 12 yards out and the 35-14 lead.
Cameron Stevens ended a potential Green Wave scoring threat, intercepting a Sloan pass at his own 7-yard line to give the ball back to the Commandos after their only turnover of the night.
With just under seven minutes left in the game, Hendersonville methodically ran the ball down the field before ending the drive on a 10-yard touchdown run by Nate Hancock.
Gallatin scored the game's final touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Sloan to Colin Minor with 43 seconds remaining.
"I'm just glad our kids played hard," Hendersonville coach Bruce Hatfield said. "This was a win our team and coaching staff needed. Gallatin has a great team and program, so it was a great win for us. This is a nice win for us going into fall break."
Both the Commandos and Wave will be on bye next week for fall break, but that will not stop coaches from getting a head start on preparation.
"We move on to Rossview tomorrow," Hatfield said with a smile. "We will enjoy this game tonight and start preparing tomorrow."
Gallatin head coach Mark Williams also stated that his team will need to be prepared as they travel to undefeated Beech in two weeks.
"We have an opportunity to go play for a region championship in two weeks against Beech, that is something we haven't been able to do in a while," he said. "We can play better football than what we did tonight."