Henley delivered a 49-6 rout over an overmatched Phoenix team (0-6, 0-2 Skyline) before a homecoming crowd Thursday night.
The win was the Hornets’ (5-1, 1-1) first in Skyline Conference play and another lengthy loss for a Pirates’ team that is yet to win a game this year.
By the time the Henley homecoming court arrived — via chariot — for halftime, the game was well out of reach with the Hornets sporting a 49-0 lead. Andrew Edwards and Beth Hamilton were this year’s senior homecoming king and queen.
“It’s great, there’s lots going on during homecoming weekend and I have loved that they’ve gotten to be a part of every part of it,” Alex Stork, the Henley head coach, adding that some of his team got to coach in the powderpuff football game the night before, participate in pep rallies and really the whole homecoming experience.
From the very first kickoff, the Hornets showed they were the better team. Phoenix sent a low kick into the Henley return side and sophomore Luke Bennett scooped the ball up, stumbled then made the first tackler miss. From there, Bennett found a lane and sprinted through the streaming defenders to find the end zone. A successful two-point try gave the Hornets an 8-0 lead with just 18 seconds gone.
After Phoenix punted on their first drive, the Hornets drove easy with the offensive line opening big holes. Senior Tulson Higgins capped off the drive with an 8-yard rushing touchdown. Henley then recovered a bouncing kickoff and junior quarterback Shaw Stork ran in a 32-yard score on the first play from scrimmage. With eight minutes still to go in the first quarter, Henley led 20-0.
A few drives later, a Phoenix safety off a bad snap gave Henley the ball again and this time Garrett Northcutt ran in his first touchdown of the game, virtually untouched, from about 40 yards out to go up 29-0 with over two minutes to go in the first quarter.
“The offensive line all season long has taken their technique and really mastered it and gotten better each week,” said Coach Stork, who added that being physical was a point of emphasis this week after a physical matchup with Mazama last week. “So I think in that first quarter what we really saw was them taking the right steps, being physical .”
By the end of the first half, Stork, Higgins and Northcutt all had two rushing touchdowns a piece — the longest of which was a 66-yard Higgins scamper, who found the end zone after maneuvering untouched through the Pirates defense.
Coach Stork said he thought both Higgins and Northcutt did a great job of seeing the holes opened by the line and “hitting the hole hard.”
The Henley defense also snagged two interceptions in the first half. One for senior Coltin Smith and one for Northcutt.
With their subs in, Henley wouldn’t score at all in the running clock second half. The Pirates’ lone touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter, as senior Payton White scored from a few yards out.
Among those younger players who got to see the field in the second half, sophomores Nolan Northcutt and Chase Baccus both had strong showings, Stork said.
The Hornets will travel to take on a tough North Valley team next week. Phoenix plays Klamath Union in their homecoming game next Friday.