Defense forces late turnovers to lift Charles Henderson past No. 5 Central-Clay CountyPublished 12:09am Friday, November 16, 2012
Charles Henderson forced two fourth-quarter fumbles and turned them both into points as the Trojans knocked off No. 5 Central of Clay County 13-0 in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs on Thursday.
For 36 minutes, Charles Henderson and Central-Clay County stared each other down. Neither defense would budge. When one offense forced its opponent to bend, someone came up with a big play to deny points.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Central-Clay fumbled on an attempted reverse. Senior linebacker Joey Denison fell on the loose ball at the Volunteers 22-yard line. After a false start penalty backed the Trojans up to the 27, quarterback Austin Ingram found Josh Noel in the end zone for the game’s first score.
Things went from bad to worse for Central-Clay. On the first play of the ensuing drive, the Volunteers again fumbled this time it was recovered by junior defensive lineman Quay Mays at the Central-Clay 6. Two Courtney Downing carries later, the Trojans were again in the end zone. The extra point would be blocked, but Charles Henderson had extended its lead to 13-0.
“This is what high school football is all about. Two great communities, two great teams. It’s unfortunate someone has to lose,” Charles Henderson head coach Mike Dean said. “I’m so proud of these kids and their character. We’re learning how to win. It shows for us to beat a team like Clay-Central.”
Both teams had chances to score throughout the games. Central-Clay drove down to the Charles Henderson 15-yard line before Denison intercepted a Volunteer pass to thwart the scoring opportunity.
“I saw it all the way. He stared him down, so I just jumped on it,” Denison said.
On the first drive of the second half the Trojans took to the air and pushed the ball to the Central-Clay 6 before Ingram, who was 4-for-4 passing on the series, threw an interception in the end zone.
The Volunteers outgained Charles Henderson in the game 241-211.
Downing, with the Trojans second touchdown, redeemed himself from a rough first half. Charles Henderson senior running back fumbled three times in the first two quarters, losing one.
“I don’t let fumbled bother me. I let it go in one ear and out the other,” Downing said.
The score came with 10:12 left in the game and with Downing running the quarterback position in the wildcat formation.
“We’ve work on it everyday, it’s all about execution,” he said.
The Trojans will play the winner of Friday’s Tallassee-Dora game. If Tallassee wins, the Trojans would travel in the third round. A Dora victory and the game would be held in Troy.