Minneapolis Henry makes a turnaround

by Malik Mitchell

After having back-to-back losing seasons, the Minneapolis Henry Patriots have made a huge turnaround currently (6-2) in Class 3A and started 6-0 for the first time since 1973. 

Junior quarterback Davontae White-Sledge said, “The community is proud of us… and we are thankful for their support. This means a lot for us to give them what they have waited for two long, hard years and that’s a win. The community stayed strong and motivated us.”

They kicked off their season with a huge victory against Minneapolis Roosevelt (54-0) scoring 34 points in the first half. 

The Patriots are back with a new groove averaging 25 points a game. While thriving, the Patriots have still had close calls only winning by one score in week two, three, and week five. Still, they are currently leading the Twin City Red district. 

“Our players and coaches were totally committed this offseason,” said White-Sledge. “We were in the weight room everyday of the week even when it was raining, snowing, it didn’t matter, we were working. All the hard work we put in shows on Friday nights when we strap up those helmets and play the game we play.”

Henry hosted the Minneapolis South Tigers on Friday, Oct. 7 and topped the Tigers 25-14. 

“Minneapolis south was a great football program who gave us a great homecoming game,” said White-Sledge. “We were just the better team overall, we played the game we were supposed to. Everybody did their jobs and we did what we had to do to get win number six. We didn’t have much time to prepare for the game but our coaches did everything in their power to make sure we were ready.”

As both teams went scoreless in the first quarter, the Tigers found themselves on the board after freshman Mikey Monger punched in a 4-yard touchdown. Not backing down, Henry replied with a 4-yard touchdown from senior Newmann Thomas. The Patriots got things rolling in the third quarter when White-Sledge rushed for two touchdowns, one of those being a 54 yarder.

In the fourth quarter, Monger managed to get the Tigers in a one-score game, but White-Sledge had other plans and delivered the final blow scoring a 20-yard rushing touchdown.

“I could’ve done a lot better overall,” said White-Sledge. “I should have made some better throws, sticking in the pocket and delivering but I took what the defense gave me and turned it into points… and a W. I couldn’t have done it without my O-line and my receivers, when they stick together I play great.”

Henry’s offense gathered a total of 323 rushing yards for the night. White-Sledge and Thomas combined for 313 yards and four touchdowns. Thomas currently has 154 carries for 1,365 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per carry contributing to the teams total of 1,967 rushing yards compared to just 508 for their opponents.

Henry suffered their first loss of the season against the Breck Mustangs 21-16 on Friday, Oct. 14th. They also dropped their final game of the regular season to 5A Bloomington Kennedy on Oct. 19.

But that hasn’t changed their goals or their vision as they head into the playoffs.

“Our team goals for this year is to get the one seed in the playoffs, and then win our section,” said White-Sledge. “It’s been a very very long time since Patrick Henry was able to host a playoff game at home, our goal is to change that. Our next goal is to go to state and get a good shot at winning it, we are very capable of winning it all.”