Ellis finds end zone twice as Commandos claim Battle for Drakes Creek
HENDERSONVILLE – Hendersonville’s Ellis Ellis had trouble containing himself following The Battle for Drakes Creek.
But that’s okay because Beech had difficulty containing him all night.
Ellis had two receiving touchdowns and an interception in the Commando’s 28-10 victory, snapping a two-year drought against their cross-town rivals.
“There was a lot (of chatter), lots of pictures, lots of mem’s and everything,” said Ellis regarding the rivalry and Beech’s two-game winning streak. “Every time we watched film. Every time. Make sure it isn’t three. (The coaches) reminded us.”
Hendersonville stopped Beech three times on fourth down in the contest.
“Obviously, going into this game most years, you’ve got to be dedicated to stopping the run no matter what happens,” Hendersonville head coach James Beasley said.
Beasley pulled a page out of the NFL which led to the Commandos’ first score. Luke Manning quick-pitched to motioning tight end Jack Busey for a 4-yard touchdown.
When asked about the play’s origin, Beasley said, “I think we had seen Patrick Mahomes do it with Travis Kelce in a game last season and we thought, we’ve got a quarterback who’s pretty smart and we’ve got a big tight end that could get that done and we decided to give it a try and it worked out for us.”
“They did a really good job on defense,” Beech head coach Anthony Crabtree said. “We didn’t do a really good job on offense. (We) made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mental errors, and they’re a good football team. You’re going to have a hard time beating them if you do those things.”
Hendersonville took a 14-0 lead with 45 seconds left in the first quarter when Manning found Ellis open in the middle. Ellis was hit immediately but bounced off and took the play 38 yards to the end zone.
Hendersonville exploited the middle of the field consistently throughout the game, something Ellis said was found through film study.
“So, they only had one safety,” Ellis said, “and we were like okay, the center is wide open, so we’ll take the inside all day and every day.”
Beasley added, “We knew they would be determined to try to stop our running game, so the more that we could complete passes and high percentage passes, the better off it was going to be for us because it was going to make them think a little bit more, so obviously we wanted to do that and we got some passes completed early and it worked to our advantage and we were able to get the ball running throughout the rest of the game.”
Beech got an opportunity late in the second quarter when the defense forced an Ellis fumble and recovered on Hendersonville’s 40-yard line. Two quick strikes from Jackson Ford to Errin Jolley and Andrew Paige set up the Buccaneers at the 17, but two short runs stalled the drive and Beech settled for a 29-yard Nick Krall field goal, to end the first half with a 14-3 Hendersonville lead.
Manning once against found Ellis open in the middle early in the third quarter, with Ellis running untouched to the endzone to put the Commandos up 21-3 with 9:02 to go in the period.
Beech, meanwhile, was unable to get anything going offensively.
“A little bit of immaturity, lack of experience, we’ve got a lot of guys playing that haven’t played a lot and that shows up when you play really good teams,” Crabtree said. “Especially like (Hendersonville) tonight. We’ve got to get back and figure out some things that we can do, try to cut down what we’re doing, maybe not do as many things as we’ve been working on, simplify things.”
The 10 points Beech scored were the fewest against the Commandos since 2011, a 23-6 loss at Hendersonville.
“What a great job they’ve been doing all year for us,” Beasley said about the Commando defense. “They’re just really good players and they listen and they’re coachable. We’ve got to move around a little and get in different spots, so coaches don’t know where they are all the time, and we’re just excited to watch them play.”
Manning converted on fourth down to extend another Commando drive, then Jack Brown broke through several tackles up the middle for a 38-yard touchdown, Hendersonville’s final score of the night with 5:06 to go in the third.
Darius Johnson blocked a Hendersonville punt that Cooper Schell scooped up and returned it four yards for the lone Beech touchdown with 5:50 to play.
HENDERSONVILLE 28, BEECH 10
|Beech (2-1, 0-1), Hendersonville (2-1, 1-0)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
H – Jack Busey 4 run, 5:16. Thomas Matchall kick.
H – Ellis Ellis 38 pass from Luke Manning, 0:45. Matchall kick.
B – Nick Krall 29 field goal, 2:23.
H – Ellis 33 pass from Manning, 9:02. Matchall kick.
H – Jack Brown 38 run, 5:06. Matchall kick.
B – Cooper Schell 4 blocked punt return, 5:50. Krall kick.