Senior quarterback Cole Henson had an absolutely incredible record-shattering night on Friday as Morristown East ended
six years of frustration with a 35-28 victory over cross-town rival West in the Citizen Tribune City Championship Classic at Burke-Toney Stadium.
Henson established three new school game records as East snapped a six-game losing streak to the Trojans. Henson completed 30-of-41 passes for 491 yards and five touchdowns setting records for completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns as he smashed the school career passing record in the process.
Henson broke the old career mark for passing yardage as he now has 4,281. His passing yardage for the night broke the old mark of 392 by current ETSU head coach Randy Sanders who also held the career mark of 4,220. He already held the career touchdown mark and now totals 44.
Receiver Micah Simpson also got into the record books grabbing four touchdown tosses including the game-winner with 1:38 remaining. He caught eight for 208 yards while Shaffer Harville also grabbed eight for 132 yards before a third-quarter injury. Trevor Malone had the most catches with nine for 109.
Add to that 85 rushing yards and the Hurricanes finished with 576 yards total offense, the most ever by an East team. The old record was 569 against West Greene in 2013.
“We talked about it and I told them that this is their last shot at it," Morristown East coach Caleb Slover said. "We thought we were the better team last year but penalties killed us. We eliminated that tonight. This group is really different. They’re believing in everything that they are doing. We have to keep going. I told them to enjoy it tonight and this Saturday and Sunday we are going to get ready for Daniel Boone.”
The Trojans also had a shining star as running back Hunter Delaney piled up 262 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns. Delaney would have gone over the 300 yard mark but lost a 47-yard run to a penalty and would have had three TD’s but fumbled just at the goalline with teammate Hunter Hicks recovering for the score.
Both teams are now 2-2 for the season after the 49 th edition of the city championship which West leads 31-18. Both will be on the road next week. East gets back into regional action as they travel to Daniel Boone. The Trojans journey to Knox Carter.
Henson threw a quick out to Simpson who made the catch and spun away from the defense and took it 39 yards down the sidelines for the game-winning score.
The Trojans had answered every time East took the lead but didn’t get the chance this time as Dane Lewis recovered a fumble on the kickoff at the West 32. West used time outs after two running plays and it was third-and-six when Henson faked to a back and went nine yards around the left side before sliding to the turf knowing his team could run out the clock.
It was without a doubt one of the best if not the best city championship ever as the almost completely opposite offenses kept the fans happy.
East wound up with 564 yards, adding 78 rushing yards. The Trojans netted 283 on the ground and quarterback Dylan Cribley hit 5-of-12 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Hurricanes turned it over three times, losing a fumble in the Trojans endzone and a pair of interceptions.
It was an offensive showcase from the start. West took the opening kickoff and moved to the East 23 before turning it over on downs and the ‘Canes sailed 77 yards in 6 plays for the lead. The key was a six-yard pass to Harville to convert a fourth down.
The points came on a perfectly thrown 40-yard toss to Simpson down the sidelines. Israel Cruz kicked the first of five conversions for a 7-0 lead with 6:27 left in the first.
After forcing a punt, East was on the move again when Aquillio Romero came up with the intercepted halfback pass at the Trojans’ 32. Three plays later, Cribley faked to the running back and found Jonny Fine for a 37-yard touchdown. Caleb Santana kicked the point to tie it with 1.6 seconds left in the first.
The Hurricanes reeled off four first downs but fumbled at the seven with the ball rolling into the endzone where Luke Yandell came up with the prize to stop the threat.
After an exchange of punts, the Trojans started at the East 47 and scored in three plays. Delaney ran the final 32 yards before the ball popped loose and Hicks pounced on it for a TD. Santana gave the Trojans a seven-point lead with 59.6 left in the half.
It took the ‘Canes just a minute to catch up in the third quarter. Henson fired to Harville on a bubble screen. He spun away from a defender, got a block and outran everybody for a 77-yard touchdown.
Hicks returned the kickoff 48 yards to the East 40 and a five-yard facemask penalty was tacked on giving the Trojans great field position. However, the scoring chance went by the boards when the ‘Canes’ defense came up with a fourth down stop at the 27.
It took eight plays for East to reclaim the lead. Henson completed a couple of passes and ran for 11 on a third-down play.
It was fourth-and-four when Henson fired to Simpson down the middle for a 37-yard TD. Cruz hit the kick and the ‘Canes were up 21-14 with 6:34 left in the third.
Delaney ran the Trojans straight down the field to tie it. A five-yard pass to Fine and six rushes by Delaney accounted for the 68-yard drive. He scored from the six with 4:03 still on the third-quarter clock and Santana converted for a 21-21 tie.
But East bounced right back. Ethan Ledford, who led the ‘Canes with 69 yards on18 carries, had a 13-yard run and Henson hit Malone for 15 and Caden Turner for 13 before connecting with Simpson down the middle again, this time for a 36-yard TD that made it 28-21 on the final play of the third quarter.
However, Delaney did it again. He had runs of 9, 19, 5, 10, and 11 and finally scored from the one with 9:44 left in the game. The only play that wasn’t a run came as Cribley fired a 15-yard pass to Nick Hildebrand.
But Henson was on fire as he passed for 23 to Simpson and then Malone for 8, 11 and 4. A second-down pass from the Trojans 34 was deflected and picked off by James Ross at the 11 and returned to nearly midfield. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the Trojans back to their 26 to start the drive. On second down, Delaney got free and ran to the East 25 but it was wiped out by a motion penalty and West punted.
The Hurricanes started at their 32. A 14-yard pass to Turner converted a third down and then an eight-yarder to Turner made it second-and-two. But two running plays netted just a yard setting up the fourth-down touchdown play by Simpson.