By Travis Chapman
As the sun was setting below the tall pines of Haynesville, LA, Apache fans lined the parking lot of Red Franklin Memorial Stadium gazing at 17 Louisiana State Titles and 9 State Runner-Up pendants that line the wall of the stadium, but the Apache Pride Tribe showed up in force to route on the #6 Apaches as they trotted out on the field and received the opening kick-off from the #1 ranked and district rival, Haynesville Golden Tornado.
Apaches’ offense started the game on the 35-yard line. First play from scrimmage, Apaches fumbled the ball and the Tornado recovered on the 41-yard line. And on 3rd down, the Tornado wing back took it through the 8 hole and scampered 30-yards to a Tornado touchdown. The Apaches trail 7-0 with 10:20 left in first.
The Apaches offense came out showing 5 wide but short gains bringing up a 3rd and long, but confusion on offense forced them to use the Apaches’ 2nd time out. Sentell torched the Tornado defender and caused the defender to pull him down for a pass interference moving the chains for the Apaches. But the next play, Easton Sanders was intercepted at the Tornado 46 yard line.
Tornado offense came out and threw a deep pass for another touchdown stretching the Tornado lead to 14-0 with 8:06 left in the first.
The Apache offense came out strong and Landry Powell took the handoff for a huge gain of 20 giving the Apaches a new set of downs. He continued to push the ball down the field to the 2 yard line making it 1st and goal. On 2nd and goal, Landry Powell pushed through the hole that Jackson Lott opened for the first Apache touchdown! Easton Sanders kicked the PAT all the way to the #8 fairway of the Haynesville Country Club and the Apaches closed the gap but trailed 14-7 with 3:08 in first.
The Tornado offense took over on the 49-yard line. The Apaches’ defense came out strong with Cade Vining shooting the gap pushing the Tornado backward for a 3-yard loss. The Tornado punted after a dropped pass, and the Apaches rushed the kicker again and took over on the Apache 46 with 1:31 left in the first quarter.
The Apaches set out on the war path, and passed the football to TE Garrett Brown over the middle, moving the chains. The first quarter ended with the Apaches primed for another score, but trailing the Tornado 14-7.
Second quarter opened with #1 Chase Sentell running through the 3-hole for another Apache first down. But a few miscues getting the play call in brought up a big 4th down and a par 3. Garrett Brown beat the defense and the defender chose to tackle Brown before the pass got there instead of giving up the touchdown, but the penalty wasn’t enough to get a new set of downs and the Apaches turned it over on downs.
The Tornado offense took over on the 10-yard line and on 3rd and short a quick pass to the world class Tornado speedster blasted the ball 85 yards down the sideline for another Tornado touchdown. The Tornado widened the lead 21-7 with 8:41 left in half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sentell got a great return to the 40 yard line. Landry Powell began driving it down the field behind the great offensive line blocking. But the Apaches were forced to punt. Confusion on the Apache offense continued to force miscues and time management problems killed the momentum the Apaches offense gained.
The Haynesville Tornado took the field and Ryan Reagan made a great tackle for a short gain for the Tornado but the Apaches’ defense stood strong and forced a punt.
Apaches took over in the shadow of their own end zone, and 2 quick incompletions brought up 3rd and 10. But a busted trick play forced a punt from the Apache end zone.
Tornado take over at the Apache 27, with all the momentum. Cade Vining blew through the gap again tackling for a loss and bringing up a 4th down. The Apaches missed the tackle in the backfield and the QB took it down to the 1-yard line. The very next play the APACHE DEFENSE FORCED A FUMBLE RECOVERED BY LANDRY POWELL IN THE END ZONE! The Apache Tribe all stood on their feet to cheer the strong defensive turnover.
The Apache offense took over on the 20-yard line with 2:09 left in first half. Garrett Brown made a big-time catch over the middle that moved the chains, but the offensive play calling still remained in la-la land that caused a poorly executed punt giving the Tornado the ball on the Apache 15-yard line and the Tornado scored on the very next play extending the lead 28-7 that closed out the first half.
The second half started off with the Golden Tornado set to receive the kick-off and took over in the Apache 45. The Tornado moved the ball down to the 37 yard line for a first down. The Apache defense stiffened up and forced a 4th down and 5 by the gang tackling led by Cade Vining. Big Daivari Jackson made a critical tackle to turn over the ball on downs giving the Apaches momentum at the 29-yard line with 8:10 left in 3rd quarter.
Apaches started moving the ball and the chains with pass completions by QB Easton Sanders to Jackson Waller. This set of decisive play calling opened the offense for star RB Chase Sentell to run it up the middle for a gain of 23 yards, putting the Apache War Party quickly into Tornado territory. Landry Powell followed the skilled blocking for a gashing gain of 17 yards and an Apache first down. But a pass from Sanders was intercepted as the officials swallowed their whistles while Sentell was tackled in the endzone before the ball arrived.
The Tornado took over on the 20-yard line but that mean defense forced a quick punt from the Tornado offense.
The Apache offense came out firing with big 9-yard gain by Seth Mangrum, followed by big 14-yard run by Landry Powell with a 15-yard facemask tacked on, and the Apaches were back deep in Tornado territory. The Apaches seemingly had a wide-open TD, but the dropped pass took the score off the board at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Apaches still trailed 28-7.
The 4th quarter started with a HUGE fourth down conversion to Garrett Brown over the middle and gave the Apaches a new set of downs! The Apaches still had a hard time with organization and seemed stalled again in the red zone, but a perfectly executed trick play from the 22-yard line on 4th down resulted in a touchdown pass from Sanders to Jackson Waller tightening the margin, 28-14 with 9:45 left remaining in the contest.
The Apache defense came out with their tails set on fire pushing the Tornado backward. That brought up a crucial 3rd and a cab ride. The Apaches defense played incredible and forced another Tornado punt.
The Apaches needed to show some urgency on offense as they took over the ball on the 30, but another costly error by the Apaches offense gave the ball right back to the Tornado with inside of 8 minutes left in the contest. The Tornado ran 3 plays and threw a deep crossing route for another touchdown that stretched the Tornado lead, 34-14 with only 6:35 remaining in the game.
The Apaches’ offense came back out throwing it 48 yards across the field to Sentell as he got completely smoked, yet again well before the ball arrives but the pass interference was not called, and Sentell had to sit out the next play. The Apaches still gave it all they had on the possession but a tipped ball over the middle was opportunistically intercepted on the Tornado 45-yard line with 5:48 remaining.
The Apaches defense still came out showcasing heart and the never-quit attitude! Farnell blasted through the gap and made a huge tackle for loss!! But the Tornado advanced down the field and moved the chains that put the nail in the coffin for the Apaches.
The Apaches fell to 3-1 to the Golden Tornado of Haynesville. The night didn’t go the Apaches’ way with several miscues, drops and turnovers, but they still fought hard as the clock struck zero. The Apaches played with heart and guts all night and showed a few weaknesses of the Golden Tornado but shot themselves in the foot by not capitalizing and scoring on 5 trips to the red zone. Even with the tough loss, the standings in the district rivalry still favor the Apaches, 2-1.
Next week your Apache Tribe will travel to Arcadia to take the sting out of the Hornets at 7 p.m. Let’s keep the fan momentum rolling and show up and show out, for our dear Apache Tribe! Even if the hard fought loss….
ITS STILL A GREAT DAY TO BE AN APACHE!!