The Battle for Drakes Creek is the biggest game of the year in Sumner County and this week was no different. 2-3 Beech was on the road taking on 4-1 Hendersonville. The Commandos had looked like the better team this season and the Beech Buccaneers were coming in as an underdog. They were going to need to find momentum somewhere, grab it, and it let go to win this game.
They got an initial spark from Running Back, Jordan Lee, with a quick 20 yard gain on the ground. A false start put the Bucs behind the sticks and off schedule and it seemed as though the Commandos were going to capture the early momentum with a stop but Kaden Powell had other ideas as he danced around in the pocket escaping tacklers before uncorking a 60 yard bomb putting Beech in a goal-to-go situation. The Commandos were determined to not give up any points on the opening drive and fought the Buccaneers down to fourth and goal from the 1 yard line. After a timeout, Beech sent the offense back out to the field. The decision turned out to be the right one as the Bucs rammed the ball over the goal line to make it 7-0 Beech early. Hendersonville started their drive with a fumble that lost yardage took them all 3 downs to recover. A roughing the kicker call on the punt gave them a second chance but the same exact thing from their first set of downs happened again with a fumble and three short plays. A short punt set up the Beech offensive at their own 45. A couple of completions by Powell set the Bucs up with first and goal from the eight with the second being a 30 yard strike to KaJuan Harris. Beech called a speed option on their next play that resulted in Powell rumbling his way into the endzone to make it 14-0 Beech and that’s how we would head to the second quarter.
Hendersonville started their second drive as we began the second quarter. The Beech defense was playing well and forced another 3-and-out. The Bucs had come in as the underdog and placed the pressure directly on the home Commandos. This was reinforced by the decision by Beech to go for it on fourth down at midfield while up two scores. The Bucs converted and continued to roll and eat clock. Beech moved the ball down to the one yard line and harder the ball to the running back on third down. The Commando defense held strong and stuffed the run. Powell turned to his sideline asking to run the same play and coach Crabtree obliged. The running back seemed to have scored but also may have fumbled. There was no signal from the referee. After a long silence from the stripes and confused murmurs from the Commando crowd the head referee explained that there had been an inadvertent whistle and the down was to be replayed, much to the distaste of fans in black and gold. Two plays later, Beech had scored to make it 21-0 with 4:30 to go the half. Hendersonville needed a response. As time ticked away, some Hendersonville fans audibly contemplated leaving at the half while others were still resenting a whistle’s ability to be blown inadvertently. As this was happening in the stands, the Hendersonville offense had moved the ball to midfield. It was then that Commando QB, Mason Baker, pulled the ball on a read option and took off. Baker weaved his way through the Buccaneer defense before throwing off a would-be tackler causing him to spin near the 5 yard line. One last Beech defender gave a last ditch effort to bring him down by hitting him mid spin, but Baker just bounced off and into the endzone, completing the 52 yard run. With just over 1:30 to go in the half Beech’s lead was cut to 21-6. Beech would have a chance to respond before the half but was unable to as the Commando defense stood tall. We headed to the locker rooms in Sumner County with Beech leading 21-6
During halftime, Dwayne Dotson was honored as the first “Commando Great” football inductee. Dotson, who played for the Tennessee Volunteers, Ole Miss Rebels, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins over the course of his career was a former Hendersonville Commando before his successful collegiate and professional careers and was announced as a “Hendersonville Legend.”
Hendersonville received the second half kickoff, looking to build on the momentum their Quarterback built for them on their last drive. The kickoff going out of bounds set them up with great field position to do so. Baker continued to be the light at the end of the tunnel for Hendersonville, breaking off multiple long runs and finding a rhythm doing so, but that rhythm was seemingly interrupted by a holding penalty on his O-line. Baker facing 2nd and 21 unleashed a bomb to Riley Jordan down the sideline. After a facemask penalty was enforced, Hendersonville was set up at the Beech one yard line. You can watch the following play below.
Baker kept, lowered his shoulder, and crashed into the endzone. The two point conversion was good on a fake field goal boot-leg jump pass and the new score with nine minutes left in the third was Beech 21 Hendersonville 14. Beech did not take long to respond. After quickly moving the ball to midfield, a nice play design and deceptive eyes by Powell resulted in a man streaking wide open down the middle of the field. Powell found him and the Bucs extended their lead to 14. Hendersonville continued to try to utilize Baker’s legs, but Beech seemed to have adjusted well. Beech forced Hendersonville to punt and with five minutes to go in the game looked to add to their lead. On the first play of the new drive they did just that. On a pass that was nearly 50 yards through the air from Powell resulted in a 70 yard touchdown for Beech’s Jordan Lee. Beech 34-14 after the PAT was blocked. The Commandos faced a 4th down near midfield on their next drive. With time running out in the third, this down felt critical. However, the Beech defense turned them away and took over on downs. Beech began to run the ball to run clock so they could get back to Shackle Island with a huge district and rivalry win. The clock hit zeros on the third with Beech leading 34-14 facing a 3rd and 10.
Hendersonville forced a punt but was unable to do anything but use up more of the clock that they needed to be able to come back. A short punt have the Buccaneers great field position. Beech was able to leech time off the clock but was unable to score as the fumbled inside the 10 yard line. Hendersonville recovered but had just 4:30 left in the game to work with. As the clock ran under four minutes the Commandos lost a fumble of their own, giving the ball right back to Beech who went right back to their bruising rushing attack. after bleeding the clock low enough Beech assumed the victory formation, kneeled the ball, and went back to Shackle Island with a big district, rivalry win with a final score of 34-14.
Our MVP is Beech QB Kaden Powell. Powell led the Beech offense that executed at a very high level against their cross-town rival and had three rushing touchdowns as well as two passing. You can hear what Kaden had to say post-game below.