Senior Standout Henderson Enjoys Fitting Finale, As Hun Football Tops Mercersburg, Earns MAPL Title
FINAL DRIVE: Hun School football player Josh Henderson heads upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, senior running back Henderson finished his Hun career in style, scoring two touchdowns as the Raiders defeated the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 48-20 in their season finale. Hun improved to 8-1 with the victory and clinched the outright Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Josh Henderson’s final appearance for the Hun School football team proved to be a fitting culmination to his stellar career.
With Hun hosting the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Sunday to end the 2018 campaign, senior running back and co-captain Henderson scored two touchdowns to help the Raiders roll to a 48-20 triumph as they improved to 8-1 and cliched the outright Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title in the process.
“It is a special day for all of us seniors and the newcomers,” said the 6’0, 205-pound Henderson, reflecting on the finale. “We had a good season this year. We set out with a goal and we did accomplished that goal of a championship.”
After scoring two first quarter touchdowns as Hun jumped out to an early 27-0 lead, Henderson got to bask in the glow of the win, playing sparingly after that.
“We had a good first half,” said Henderson. “We came out and ran the ball well and got the young guys a chance to get in and play a little bit.”
Henderson and the Raiders had the chance to clinch the outright MAPL title in the wake of a come-from-behind 21-16 win at fellow frontrunner Peddie on October 27.
“It was such a great game; it was a fairy tale ending,” said Henderson, who had been stymied in the 2017 meeting between the rivals which saw Peddie prevail 61-7, snapping Hun’s 29-game winning streak. “They had been on our minds since the very beginning of the season.”
Ending his Hun career with outright crown is something that will be on Henderson’s mind for a while.
“It is a great feeling to get another MAPL championship and to get it on my senior year to go out on top,” said Henderson, who has committed to attend the University of North Carolina and play for its football program.
Hun head coach Todd Smith was thrilled to see his senior group go out on top.
“I am so proud of them, a lot of them are kids that came in around the same time I did, so we have been together,” said Smith, whose other senior standouts included Jackson Barletta, Malcolm Brunson, Gavin Casey, Blake Hansen, Caedan Wallace, Dylan Deveney, and Brendan Ekwughalo in addition to Henderson. “It has been a real great experience.”
It has been a special experience for Smith to coach Henderson. “Josh has done a great job and there is no doubt that he is going to be a great player at the next level,” said Smith. “We are happy to help him take that next step.”
Smith was very happy to see his team stand alone atop the MAPL. “It is our fourth outright championship in five years; that is the goal we have here at the Hun School, to win the MAPL so mission accomplished,” said Smith whose team shared the MAPL title last fall
Edging Peddie a week earlier was the key step in accomplishing the title mission.
“That was a testament to our kids not giving up,” said Smith. “We were down early. We had to battle through some adversity from a lot of different levels but all in all it was great.”
While Hun is losing some key players to graduation, Smith believes the program can keep playing at a high level.
“We lose a lot of great kids and we bring back a lot of great kids,” said Smith.
“It is on us, as coaches, to develop the kids that we have to make sure that they are ready.”
Henderson, for his part, has developed a deep affection for the Hun program in his time at the school.
“I will remember the friendships that turn into family,” said Henderson. “This will be special forever.”