The team of Jerome Payne, Dutchtown senior Michael Kelley, Kyle Blake, Kristin Davis, Karell Russell, Adam McGouirk, Kameron Haley, Darvin Chatman, Chance Johnson, William Mason and Morgan Ash defeated the Gwinnett Heat 31-28 for the title.
“I’m not a big horse race kind of guy but this was like winning the Triple Crown,” Henry Hurricanes coach Harlon Matthews said.
The Hurricanes finished with a 6-1 record in football and a 20-1 overall mark this season.
“They did real well,” said Matthews, who is also the therapeutic recreation specialist for the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department. “This is the best season we ever had. We really struggled with football but not this year — it clicked.”
With their only loss of the season coming against the Gwinnett Heat, the Hurricanes got their chance at redemption and completed the task.
For much of the contest, the Hurricanes were able to keep pace with the Heat until Blake, a Union Grove sophomore, shifted the momentum with an interception, which was converted into the decisive touchdown.
“Kyle Blake was just at the right place at the right time almost all of the time,” Matthews said. “His interception was really instrumental.”
Then the Heat missed a long field goal and the Hurricanes were able to milk the clock away for the victory.
“This was a sweet, sweet victory,” Hurricanes coach Chris Vernon said. “To be able to come back and beat the team that prevented us from having an undefeated record was a great feeling.”
With Kelley being the only senior, the Hurricanes should have a good chance at repeating in all three sports next year. However, Kelley will still be a part of the Hurricanes since he will become a member of the coaching staff.
Now that school is out for the summer, Matthews, who is also a certified tennis instructor, will turn his attention to some upcoming tennis events.
Starting this Friday through Sunday, the Geranium Festival Wheelchair Tennis Tournament will take place at Richard Craig Park.
Then in July, there will be another tournament for mostly players who are not disabled at facilities all over the Southern Crescent. The championship will be held at the Jason T. Harper Arena at Heritage Park.