By DAVID CLAYBOURN
ROYSE CITY —
Patrick Brown ran for four touchdowns and returned a punt for another score to lead the Henderson Lions to a 49-13 area football playoff victory on Saturday over the Quinlan Ford Panthers.
Brown, who started at quarterback, rushed for 67 yards on just six carries, scoring on bursts of 29, 10, 5 and 4 yards and also returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown. Brown was also 5-of-5 passing for 72 yards.
Henderson, now 8-4 for the season, advances to the regional round to play Celina, which won its area game 51-20 over Dallas Madison.
Ford finishes at 8-4 after becoming the first Panther football team in school history to win district and bi-district titles in the same season. Ford beat North Lamar 33-28 last week at bi-district.
“It’s only the fourth district title and third playoff win in school history so I’m proud of the kids,” said Panther coach Todd Wallace.
Wallace said Henderson’s speed hurt the Panthers.
“They’re physical,” he said. “They’re just a good ball club but speed don’t hurt.”
The speedy Brown, a converted wide receiver, fired completions of 11 and 12 yards to receivers Mikel Lewis and Diamante Wright before dashing 29 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The Lions got the ball back four plays later when Arquez Walton intercepted a hurried Ford pass, returning the pick to the Panther 13. Brown scored his second touchdown on a 10-yard scamper.
Brown put his team up 21-0 later in the first quarter with the big punt return and then set up Jamal Kind’s 17-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter with a 31-yard completion to Lewis.
Ford threatened to score with a drive from its 24 to the Lion 10 on the running of James Silkey, Jon Humphries and Taylor Sikorsky but the Lion defense forced an incompletion on a fourth-and-seven pass from the Henderson 10.
Henderson, led by Brown, then drove 90 yards in six plays. Wright got the drive moving with a 45-yard run before Brown ended it with a 5-yard touchdown run as Henderson went into halftime leading 35-0.
The Lions went 46 yards and 45 yards on their first two drives of the second half to build a 49-0 lead. Brown ran four yards for one touchdown and reserve Casey Coats bolted 47 yards for the other touchdown.
The Panthers never quit battling and scored two touchdowns in the final 3:12. Silkey capped a 69-yard, six-play drive with a 55-yard touchdown run with 3:12 remaining. Sikorsky booted the extra point.
The Panthers then recovered Sikorky’s onside kick attempt to set up a 26-yard touchdown run by Chandler Schwing on the final play of the game.
Ford finished with 297 yards of total offense, including 269 rushing. Silkey ran for a game-high 150 yards on 21 carries, while Sikorsky finished with 46 yards on 14 rushes and Humphries added 37 yards on 10 carries.