August 30, 2010

Henderson stars in Leander loss

The football drought between spring and fall has finally ended, and Texas high school football season has begun. While some schools choose cupcake non-conference schedules, others choose to face the best in order to better prepare their team for the upcoming season. This Friday, the star-studded Desoto Eagles from the D/FW metroplex made the trek down to Austin to face the talented Leander Lions. In a game filled with future Division I prospects, current Texas A&M commit Jonathon Henderson displayed his skills and what made him a such special target for Big 12 schools, finishing the game with 6 rushes for 32 yards, 4 receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns, and accumulated a handful of big hits with a forced fumble on defense.

After an early DeSoto touchdown, Leander put together a nice drive with the help of a long catch on a Jonathon Henderson seam route that had them within scoring range. While in the red zone, Henderson had his number called, and he knew there was only one thing he had to do.

"All that was going through my mind that play was that I had to make a play and score. I knew I had to do anything and everything to catch the ball, keep it in my hands, and make sure my feet were in the end zone," he said.

The play Henderson ended up making was that of something you would see out of a 6 foot, 4-inch receiver, not a 5 foot, 9-inch slot player. Leander soloed up Henderson on a Desoto corner, and threw a fade route to the back of the end zone. Henderson leaped up over the corner and caught the ball over the DB's head while managing to keep his feet in bounds. It was the highlight of the night for the Lions.

Watching Henderson you can't help but enjoy the level of intensity he brings on both sides of the ball. He loves coming down field to lay the big hit on defense, and on offense he isn't afraid to go throw a big block for a teammate running the ball. He was in the ears of many of the DeSoto players, but he says it is all just the raw emotion he plays the game with.

"I just play the game with a lot of passion and sometimes I get a little carried away, but it's important to bring the fire when you play," he said. "I honestly don't remember who I was even talking to, but I know they hit me kind of hard a couple of times. Knowing myself I was talking because I have a passion for the game."

While Henderson has committed to A&M to play the slot receiver position, he plays an important role for the Lion's defense as the starting strong safety. The Leander defensive backs were able to contain TCU wide receiver commits David Porter and Cameron White for most the night thanks to a great blitzing scheme developed by the defensive coordinator.

"It was a fine match up and they had some good receivers, but we also have good DB's. I feel like we played them really good, but we just seemed to take ourselves out of the game with a few stupid plays and turnovers," Henderson said. "Overall I feel like we handled their wide receivers pretty well and kept them contained for most of the night."

As it is with most first games, the play for both teams was sloppy, especially on special teams. Both teams fumbled kickoff returns, and Leander also had a high snap on a punt that put DeSoto in scoring position. Henderson felt that in the end, Leander may have done themselves in.

"It was real close throughout the game, but we just had a couple mess ups on special teams. We lost the special teams battle, and they won that part of the game. In the end that was the biggest factor in the final score."

While Henderson has been focused on his senior season, he is also making time to keep in contact with his future coaches and teammates at Texas A&M.

"I call them from time to time, or I will talk to them on Facebook. I have a lot of the coaches on Facebook. In fact I'm going to call the coaches tomorrow and see what's going on with the team," he said. "It's good talking with them and building good communication. I talk to a lot of the commits on facebook too. I talked with Devonte Burns about his game and how they played against Plano West. I also talked with Joseph Cheek about his big win."

Though Henderson will not be a student until 2011, Aggie fans should expect to see him at Kyle Field on Saturdays this fall.

"I'm going to go to all the home games, but I'm planning on making my official for the Oklahoma game. It should be a great game," he said.

Henderson is eager to make it down to College Station, and had this to say to the Aggie fan base:

"Tell them I can't wait to get to A&M and to be a part of the 12th Man environment."

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