CHHS, Oneonta to battle for 4A crownPublished 11:01pm Thursday, December 5, 2013
The radio was dominated by British rock bands Queen, The Police, Pink Floyd; Urban Cowboy, Empire Strikes Back and The Blues Brothers were breaking the box office records and Terry Bradshaw, Mike Schmidt and Dale Earnhardt were sports icons.
The year was 1980, and Charles Henderson won a state title.
The music, film and sport heroes have changed over the past 34 years, but in 2013 the Trojans once again find themselves on the precipice of the top of the football mountain. Standing in the way of the Charles Henderson’s second-ever football state championship is perennial power Oneonta.
However, the Trojans are not looking back 34 years, or even just 15 weeks. They are, as wide receiver John Johnson said, “looking forward, one day and one play at a time.”
The 2013 season marks the third consecutive season the Redskins have reached the state title game, but they have never taken home the blue map.
Charles Henderson head coach Mike Dean feels Oneonta will prevent a very good matchup for his Trojans.
“To get to Tuscaloosa, you have to be the best,” Dean said. “Oneonta will be hungry for a state championship because they have been here now three times and haven’t won it yet. We will have to play our game, and not give in to jitters early. Oneonta has been here before, we haven’t. We can’t make mistakes early.”
Oneonta is led by veteran head coach Don Jacobs. Jacobs played college football at the University of Alabama, and served as offensive coordinator under Larry Blakeney for the then Troy State Trojans from 1991-2000.
Dean respects the job Jacobs has done at Oneonta, and what he has done his entire coaching career.
“Don Jacobs is a great football coach, that is for sure,” Dean said. “He has been at all different levels of the game, and has been successful at each place. He took over a great program, and has kept them near the top. He is a great offensive mind and I have nothing but respect for him.”
Oneonta’s cumulative statistics mirror Charles Henderson’s. The Redskins average 47 points a game, while the Trojans score 44 a game on average. The Oneonta defense gives up 11 points a game, and Charles Henderson comes in to the title game giving up around 14 points per contest.
Dean says Oneonta will through dozens of different looks at teams to try to cause confusion for defenses.
“They have run used over 120 different formations,” said Dean. “It is not as bad as it sounds, but it is still different. They can take a fullback and line up at different spots. One spot makes it pro trips, other places make it wing strong or wing weak, and if he goes all the way out, it turns in to one back spread. They can do the same thing with the tailback. They use the same personnel, but use them in a bunch of different ways.”
Dean, CHHS’s defensive coordinator, feels the key to stopping Oneonta’s run-based attack occurs before the snap.
“You better get lined up right,” Dean said. “But they will get set, and then pop out to look at the formation and then signal in another play. We have to disguise what we are doing or they will take advantage of it all day long.”
Charles Henderson and Oneonta will meet for the Alabama High School Athletic Association 4A State Championship Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.