GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WWBT) - Gabe Henderson may not have been on the field with his teammates on Saturday, but his presence was certainly felt around the stadium.
Deep Run kicked off its season against J.R. Tucker, the Wildcats’ first game since Henderson passed away in a boating accident last April. Every Deep Run helmet had a number 10 decal on one side, a sign hung on the bleachers, while a tribute to the receiver was written on the banner used for the team’s entrance.
“Number 10 is not here and that’s a huge deal to us, but we’ve got to keep playing and play for him,” said Wildcats’ senior linebacker Garrett Keeney.
The biggest tribute came when Deep Run took the field for its first offensive play with only ten players. Henderson’s jersey was placed on the field where he would have lined up. The Wildcats were assessed an illegal formation penalty, which Tucker declined.
“It was huge,” senior quarterback Bo Kite said. “It was pretty emotional. A lot of thoughts went through my head, but it felt good.”
“It meant a lot to us,” added Keeney. “We miss that dude and every play, it’s all for him.”
The game itself did not shape up like many expected, as the Tigers’ defense caused trouble for Deep Run all afternoon. The Wildcats’ big break came late in the fourth quarter, when Kendall Hummer burst through the line to block a punt, giving them the ball at the Tucker six yard line. Kite would score on a quarterback keeper on the next play, breaking a scoreless tie with 1:48 remaining in the game.
Victor Swarray sealed the contest for Deep Run with an interception on the Tigers’ ensuing drive.
“Today was nothing what I expected,” said Kite after the win. “I thought we were going to come out here and just dominate, but I think what helps a team is a little bit of getting humbled and I think we’re going to take that and run with it.”
The Wildcats improve to 1-0 on the season and host Douglas Freeman on Friday. J.R. Tucker falls to 0-2 and makes a Friday trip to Varina.
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