They hail from different ends of the same county, and the current directions of West Henderson and North Henderson football are as far apart as their geographical locations.
The Henderson Country rivals collide on MY 40 in a 7 pm kickoff in this week’s edition of “Thursday Night Lights” at North Henderson.
West Henderson (5-2, 3-1) has won four of its last five games and is in great shape to earn a playoff berth in its first season in the Western Mountain Athletic Conference.
The Knights (2-5, 0-4) are reeling in the midst of a four-game losing streak, beset by the loss of four players dismissed from the team and three other starters who have missed time with injuries.
The Falcons have shown a penchant for winning close games – they have victories by one, two and three points and are 2-0 in overtime games.
North Henderson got off to a promising 2-1 start under first-year coach Zach Wilkins but has struggled recently as it started its first season in the WMA, losing their four league games by an average margin of 39 points.
“We had four starters dismissed from the team for violating team rules and had three starters injured, so it’s been a tough row to hoe the past few weeks,” said Wilkins.
“We’re doing the best we can with what we have.”
The Falcons have been successful with a run-dominated offense that features three running backs (Elijah Nickell, Jason Wallace and Trenton Gasperson) who have combined for 1,403 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
Gasperson and Jasper Thomas pace the defense with 70 tackles each.
“They’re a good football team, real physical team. They run the wing-T very well, have for years, and defensively they fly around and hit you,” said Wilkins.
“Not a flashy team but real good at what they do.”
With the loss of both linemen and skill position players, Wilkins has relied heavily on the varied talents of speedster Darren Lammons, who is dangerous as a runner (368 yards rushing, one touchdown) and receiver (19 catches for 267 yards, 2 scores).
“It’s a short week to prepare, it’s a county rival and it’s on TV, so you can throw the records out the window because we know North is going to be ready to play,” said Falcons’ coach Paul Whitaker.
“We have to make sure our kids are ready to play as well.”
Did you miss the game? You can check out the highlights below!
Also, don't forget to check out our top plays of the week!