Knights use 4th quarter comeback to start 2023 on a winning note
For three quarters this past Friday night, it appeared the Henryetta Golden Knight varsity football team was on its way to a double-digit, season-opening, loss to the Hartshorne Miners. Entering the final 12 minutes of regulation, the Knights trailed the Miners by a 32-12 margin.
Thirty-six seconds later, sophomore Will Perez raced 55 yards to paydirt to cut the deficit to 14 points – 32-18, then senior tailback Nick Hudson crossed the goal line on the conversion attempt to make it a 32-20 contest.
Perez’s long-distance run sparked a 28-point scoring barrage by the Knights in the final stanza to pull off a thrilling come-from-behind 40-32 victory in front of Henryetta fans at historic Cameron Field.
The Knights will look for their second win of the 2023 season this Friday night with a home meeting with a very tough Victory Christian Conqueror squad, who opened the 2023 campaign with a 33-21 win over Cascia Hall this past Friday night.
Kickoff for Friday’s non-district showdown with Victory Christian is set for 7 p.m. at historic Cameron Field in Henryetta.
In Friday’s season opener against Hartshorne, the visitors got the scoring started at the 7:18 mark of the opening quarter on a 17-yard run by quarterback Jackson Moody. Moody then crossed the goal line on the conversion attempt to give Hartshorne an early 8-0 advantage.
With only seven seconds removed from the gameclock in the second quarter, Hudson put the Knights on the scoreboard for the first time in 2023 with a 20-yard TD run. The PAT kick was off the mark, making it an 8-6 deficit for the Henryetta squad.
The Knights needed just 3 minutes and 37 seconds to erase the early deficit, as junior quarterback Brady Norman connected with Perez on a slantpass attempt. Perez then outran the Hartshorne defense into the end zone for the go-ahead 48-yard touchdown reception. The extra-point try was once again no good, putting the Henryetta squad in front by four, 12-8, with 8:16 left in the first half.
A 4-yard run by Acetin Rowell and conversion pass from Moody to Guss Miller put Hartshorne back in front, 16-12, at the 5:33 mark of the second quarter, then the visitors increased its lead to 2412 on a 2-yard run and successful conversion run attempt by Aden Reeves with 44 seconds remaining before halftime.
The visitors extended its lead to 32-12 with 3:16 left in the third quarter on a 3-yard run and successful conversion run attempt by Kelby Thomason.
In the thrilling fourth-quarter comeback, Perez followed up his 55-yard TD run by hauling in a 31yard TD pass from Norman with 6:49 remaining in regulation to cut the Hartshorne lead to six, 32-26.
The game-tying score came with exactly four minutes left in the final frame, as Norman connected with a wide-open Nathan Nail for a 54-yard aerial strike. The long TD pass deadlocked the score at 3232 with 240 seconds left in regulation.
The Henryetta defense forced a turnover on downs at midfield with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Knights a chance to tally the go-ahead score.
After the defensive stop, the Henryetta offense needed just three plays and 21 seconds to reach the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
The game-winning drive began with back-to-back runs by Hudson, moving the ball to the Hartshorne 19, then Perez capped off the comeback win with a 19-yard TD run. Perez then hauled in the conversion pass from Norman in the back of the end zone to make it a 40-32 Henryetta advantage with 1:56 left in regulation.
The Henryetta defense came away with one final stop in the final minute of regulation, as Tayler Hamric intercepted a Hartshorne pass at the Henryetta 30 with 53 seconds remaining to seal the Knights’ come-from-behind victory.
Perez finished with a total of 175 yards on offense with 4 TDs (2 rushing, 2 receiving) to lead the Henryetta offensive statistics.
— Henryetta 40, Hartshorne 32 Hartshorne: 8 – 16 – 8 – 0 (32) Henryetta: 0 – 12 – 0 – 28 (40) — First Quarter
Hartshorne – Jackson Moody, 17-yard run (Moody run); 7:18 Second Quarter
Henryetta – Nick Hudson, 20-yard run (Kick Failed); 11:53 Henryetta – Will Perez, 48-yard pass from Brady Norman (Kick Failed); 8:16 Hartshorne – Acetin Rowell, 4-yard run (Guss Miller pass from Moody); 5:33 Hartshorne – Aden Reeves, 2-yard run (Reeves run); 0:44 Third Quarter
Hartshorne – Kelby Thomason, 3-yard run (Thomason run); 3:16 Fourth Quarter
Henryetta – Perez, 55-yard run (Hudson run); 11:24 Henryetta – Perez, 31-yard pass from Norman (Run Failed); 6:49 Henryetta – Nathan Nail, 54-yard pass from Norman (Kick Failed); 4:00 Henryetta – Perez, 19-yard run (Perez pass from Norman); 1:56