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Heartbreak ends Independences run for state title

Hendersonville running back, Corey Jones scored his third touchdown of the night from 4 yards out to tie the game with 39 seconds left and kicked PAT gave the Commandos a surprising 36-35 come from behind victory over Independence in the quarter finals of the TSSAA Class 6A championship playoffs.
The Eagles had a chance to answer but Andrew Bunch’s pass was intercepted as time expired. 
Hendersonville trailed 28-7 in the second quarter and used two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to close the gap to 28-22.
Independence looked to regain control of the game when Dom Childress scored with a 12 yard run the following series extending the Eagles’ lead to 35-22. The Commandos came right back when quarterback Jeremias Elston hit Braden Schwerdt for a 23 yard score with 4 minutes remaining.
A quick 3-and-out on Independence’s next possession gave Hendersonville the chance for the game winning drive and they delivered. 
“It’s tough, a tough game,” Eagles coach Scott Blade said. “Thought we had a chance there at the end. The kids played hard, both sides. Credit to (Hendersonville). They made more plays tonight obviously. But I’m proud of our team nonetheless.”
Hendersonville’s rushing attack was impressive all night as Commando running back group of Jones, Cameron Turner and Jack Towe executed the Wing-T offense with efficiency. The 5-foot-9, 225 pound Jones was a handful up the middle all night for the Eagles with his three touchdowns and one run over over 40 yards.
“We knew (Jones) was going to be the guy to make that thing go,” Blade said. “We did our best to slow him down, but it wasn’t enough tonight.”
The growth this Eagles squad has accomplished this season is something Blade told his players to be proud of. After dropping three straight in September, Independence rattled off six consecutive wins heading into the quarterfinals against the Commandos.
“Told them we’re proud of them,” Blade said of talking to his team after the game. “It was a great season. Obviously they’re disappointed. It’s hard to console them at this point but we’re proud of them for getting our program pointed in the right direction. Unfortunately we came up a point short tonight.”
Independence’s season ends in shock after a jumping out to a lead on the first play from scrimmage. Bunch found Rashaan Gaulden on a slant that went 55 yards for a touchdown. Bunch connected with Deion Sims the next drive from 18 yards to make it 14-0. 
And after Hendersonville’s first score, Bunch aired it out to Vic Wharton for a 51 yard touchdown pass. Wharton’s 9 yard touchdown scamper completed Independence’s 28-10 halftime lead. 

Posted on: 11/22/2013


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