Warriors victorious at War Memorial 50-49

Hendrix entered Saturday night’s contest versus Rhodes on the back of two-consecutive one point losses in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) and needing a win to stay competitive as the race for the SAA title enters the home stretch.

Parker Turley

And, on a beautiful fall night at War Memorial Stadium in the capital city, Buck Buchanan’s Warriors emerged victorious in a 50-49 shootout in what is sure to go down as an instant classic.


Jacob Buniff found Bryler Nitcholas for a 31-yard score on the Warriors’ opening possession and took an 8-0 lead after a successful 2-point attempt.

Rhodes responded immediately with a score of their own to bring the Lynx within a point, and facing 4th and 1 from their own 34, Hendrix opted  to keep the offense on the field, albeit with a heavier formation. Parker Turley received the direct snap as the de facto quarterback, only needing a yard to keep the drive going. Instead, he went for 66 yards after breaking right through the middle of the scrum untouched for Hendrix’s second score.

After forcing a Rhodes punt on the ensuing possession, Hendrix went 64 yards for their third score in four drives, with Turley once again finding the end zone on a 2-yard rush off a direct snap.

With the score 22-14 midway through the second half, Zach Schultz’s blackshirt defense turned the Lynx over on downs deep in Hendrix territory, and the offense took full advantage after Buniff connected with Tanner Grimes from 27 yards out for his second passing touchdown of the half.

The Warriors would lead 29-27 heading into halftime.

Rhodes opened the second half with a touchdown to take their first lead of the night. Trailing 35-29, the Warriors looked to respond and drove all the way down to the Lynx 1. But disaster would strike, as Turley’s attempt to stretch the ball across the goal line on a QB sneak led to a fumble that Rhodes would recover.

The defense was once again called upon to make a big stop, and they did so in a big, big way. After forcing Rhodes into 3rd and 9 from their own 2, Ryan Maxwell jumped a pass from Evan Reeder to come up with the interception and gift the Warriors possession at Rhodes’ 6 yard line.

Hendrix would respond promptly, with Jason Sullivan punching it in from 6 yards out for his first score of of the night to give his team a 36-35 lead.

Just as they opened the third quarter, Rhodes found the end zone again to open the fourth quarter. A successful 2-point attempt gave them a 43-36 lead with 12:24 to play.

A wrinkle was thrown into the mix for Russ Phillips’ offense as Josh Hayes entered the fray for Buniff after an apparent injury. But the offense wouldn’t skip a beat, as Hayes drove the Warriors down into scoring position after making several key throws. Auvic White would punctuate the drive for Hendrix’s fourth rushing touchdown of the night.

And with 3:55 remaining, Hayes would find Sullivan for 23-yard touchdown to retake the lead at 50-43.

But Rhodes was not out of it yet. The Lynx assumed possession at their own 38. A Brayen Smalley and Cameron Daniels combined tackle for loss handed Rhodes 2nd and 13 from their own 47, but a 41-yard throw and catch put them down at Hendrix’s 12 with little time left. They would get all the way to the 2-yard line before an offensive pass interference call negated the would-be tying score, but scored on the ensuing play with 21 seconds remaining.

Coach Rich Duncan elected to keep his offense on the field seeking the go-ahead 2-point conversion. But the Warrior defense was up to the challenge and made its biggest stop of the night, denying Rhodes the two-point conversion to maintain their lead and seal the win in a 50-49 classic.


The win improves Hendrix to 3-4 (3-2 SAA). They will head to Mount Berry, Ga. next Saturday to take on the Berry Vikings at Valhalla.