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CHHS routs ACA (PHOTOS)

CHHS routs ACA (PHOTOS)

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The CHHS defense wraps up an ACA ballcarrier Friday night in Montgomery.
MESSENGER PHOTOS / DAN SMITH

By Dan Smith

MONTGOMERY – The Trojans of Charles Henderson got back on the winning track in a big way Friday night with a 69-30, Class 5A, Region 2 victory over Alabama Christian Academy at Wade Black Norton Memorial Field in Montgomery.

CHHS pulled out all the stops on offense, special teams, and the defense was outstanding against the ACA Eagles. Senior quarterback Austin Ingram threw four touchdowns, while Jalanate Smith had three touchdowns on the evening, and teammates Reilly Fox and Jared Wilson each had two touchdowns.

The Trojans placed emphasis on leadership and positive attitude this week in practice, and head coach Brad McCoy believes it showed Friday night in the win.

“I really think our team approached this game in a lot different fashion,” McCoy said. “Sometimes you have to learn from making mistakes, especially mistakes we made over the last two weeks, and that is what I commended our guys on after the game. I thought we came out tonight and the leadership was better, we made plays that we did not make the previous two weeks.

“We have got to continue to get better, and tonight is just one game. You can’t get satisfied and complacent. We have a chance to play at home in the first round of the playoffs if we can put these wins together. I think that’s our goal right now. Even though we didn’t get it done last week, we got to work on winning the next one.”

CHHS wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, taking the opening kickoff and moving 45 yards in six plays as Ingram completed three consecutive passes, including a 28-yard gain to Fox, followed by a one-yard touchdown carry by the freshman running back Wilson. The extra point by Ben Salmon was good for the 7-0 lead.

ACA punted on their next possession, and on the first play of the drive Ingram hit Fox again for a 39-yard touchdown pass, Salmon added the PAT, and the Trojans were up 14-0.

The Eagles again punted, and Mondaris Dixon broke the return down the sideline to the ACA 4-yard line, and three plays later Wilson ran it in for the 21-0 lead, with Salmon’s PAT.

Fox scored his second touchdown of the evening on a three-yard pass from Ingram in the closing minutes of the first quarter, and Salmon’s extra point was good for the 28-0 lead.

The Trojans went ahead 35-0 with 11:34 remaining in the first half when CHHS junior defensive back Omari Vaughans picked up a loose ACA fumble and scrambled 20 yards for the touchdown.

The Eagles got on the board with 10:20 remaining in the half on a 20-yard field goal by Hunter Hanson, cutting the CHHS lead to 35-3.

CHHS bounced right back on their next possession with Demario Harris taking the kickoff and finding nowhere to run to his right, reversed his direction and took the ball to the ACA 25 before being dragged down.

On the first play from scrimmage, Ingram hit junior Smith for a 25-yard touchdown, the PAT by Salmon was good, and CHHS led 42-3 with 9:54 remaining in the first half of play.

ACA did not keep the ball very long as two plays into their next possession Marquis Simmons intercepted the ball, giving the Trojans the ball at the ACA 41. Smith scored the next touchdown on a 6-yard run, and the Trojans led 48-3 as the extra point conversion was no good.

With 3:34 remaining in the first half, a power failure put the stadium in darkness, but power was restored and play resumed 30 minutes later.

The Eagles came out hot after the break, as quarterback Chandler Taylor connected with Ethan Anderson for a 10-yard touchdown pass reception, and the extra point by Hanson was good cutting the CHHS lead to 48-10.

Each team swapped possessions in the second half before the Trojans got on the board with Ingram connecting on four passes and Mondaris Dixon carrying the ball three times, including the 3-yard carry for the touchdown. The extra point by Conner Adler was good and CHHS led 55-10.

Ingram threw his fourth touchdown pass of the evening lofting a 52-yard strike to Kobe Griffin with 3:09 left in the third quarter, and the PAT by Will Young was good for the 62-10 advantage.

ACA got back on the board when Jack Martin scooped up a fumble and raced 30 yards for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 62-16.

CHHS bounced right back with another score when facing fourth and two at their own 43, Smith faked the punt and sprinted 57 yards down the right sideline for the touchdown, and the 69-16 lead with 11:09 left in the game.

ACA running back David Poole scored a touchdown from 11 yards out with 6:12 to go in the game, and backup quarterback Grayson Blackwell later hit Wesley Pugh for a touchdown strike of 36 yards for the last Eagle score, and the 69-30 final.

The Trojans improved to 2-2 on the year and 1-1 in Region 2 competition, and will host Class 7A Davidson of Mobile this upcoming Friday night in Veteran’s Memorial Stadium of Troy, while ACA, also 2-2 and 1-1, will travel to Fultondale.

 


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Doing work: Goshen gets off to early lead, capitalizes on explosive second quarter to down Calhoun

Doing work: Goshen gets off to early lead, capitalizes on explosive second quarter to down Calhoun

GHS-Calhoun-091914-7_web
MESSENGER PHOTOS / JOEY MEREDITH

GOSHEN – The Goshen Eagles scored early the first quarter and never relinquished their lead as they beat the Calhoun Tigers 42-18 on Friday.

No. 6 D’Errius Kite, a key player for the Eagles offense, had 101 rushing yards on six carries and two interceptions. No. 22 Terrainno Griffin had 122 rushing yards on eight carries for the Eagles. Kite, a senior, said he was feeling good about where the season was heading.

“I have to give it up to the line,” Kite said. “They did their job, and when everybody does their job positive things happen. It feels good because we’re leaving something for the junior group. Each year we try to leave something for the younger guys, and I think we’re doing pretty good at that.”

No. 4 Tyler Phillips, led the defense with seven tackles and four assists.

While head coach Bart Snyder is pleased with the offense and defense, he said the team still has some opportunities to improve.

“Mentally, after having Mckenzie, Pike County, Luverne and New Brockton, games like that having to get up mentally we weren’t where we needed to be,” Snyder said. “We knew that, but we just hoped to fight through it and we did.”

After getting on the board early, the Eagles solidified their lead scoring four times in the second quarter. The Eagles scored with 13 seconds remaining in the half, and recovered the kickoff return on the Tiger one-yard line. They scored again on the following drive pushing their lead over the Tigers 42-6. Snyder said his team was really able to pull it together during the last eight minutes of the half.

“Those last eight minutes of the first half, we put 20-something points or more on the board in no time,” Snyder said. “We had effort from everybody … like Elijah Smith getting down the field and knocking the guy off the ball and then Jabronski Williams making the recovery there on the two-yard line with 30 seconds left to go in the half …

“(Because of those plays) we were able to put another touchdown on the board.”

The teams played two six-minute quarters in the second half, and Snyder was able to put in some of his younger players and see how they reacted.

“That’s a good thing,” Snyder said. “These guys come out here, and they practice every day. We’re not easy on them, by any means. You get on to them, and they don’t get in the game to play on Friday nights, and it’s kind of discouraging to get to that point. This gave us an opportunity to get them in the ball game, to get them some playing time to see what it feels like. Plus, it was an opportunity for us to see what those guys can do for us later on down the road.”

Goshen, now 3-1, will travel to Dothan to face the Houston Academy Raiders next Friday, and Snyder said the team would be working on the little things at practice this upcoming week.

“Number one thing is cut down on the little-bitty mistakes that we have,” Snyder said. “We’ve got to cut those things out and get ourselves ready to play mistake-free ball, because that’s a game here and next week they’re going to be a real good ball team. We’re just going to have to make sure we cut down on those little mistakes.”

The Raiders are currently 1-2-1 for the season, and kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in Dothan.

 

Game Action Photo Gallery

Fun on the Sidelines Gallery

 


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‘Everything going in right direction’ as Pike Lib defeats Evangel, 30-6

MONTGOMERY – After a sluggish start, the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots found their rhythm and scored four touchdowns in the second half to beat Evangel Christian Academy 30-6 on Friday.

“We had a good half,” head coach Gene Allen said of the second half of the game.

Actually, Allen said, the Patriots started the game a bit flat at the start. “We came out a little over confident,” he said. “And they came out, and ran a different defense that we hadn’t prepared for this week.”

While the Patriots held Evangel scoreless in the first half – in part thanks to key interceptions by C.J. Allen and Jarrett Jordan – the Pats were able to score only one touchdown on a 37-yard run by Adam Grice. The PAT by Rush Hixson was good, and Pike led 7-0.

“We talked about it at half time and got things worked out,” Allen said.

Patrick O’Brien ignited the spark in the second half when he forced an Evangel fumble on the opening kickoff.

“He caught the ball in mid-air and scored,” Allen said. “That was a big play. It got everything going in the right direction.”

JaMichael Jones scored the next two touchdowns, including a 72-yard run on a handoff from Hixson and 1-yard run up the middle.

In between, the Patriot defense stopped Evangel on a fourth-and-two attempt as Cameron Crowe sacked the quarterback for a 4-yard loss. “We stopped them twice when they went for it on fourth down,” Allen said.

Pike’s final score came on a 29-yard pass from freshman quarterback Reed Jinright to Marquese Christian.

“Our starting quarterback was hurt, so we let Rush (Hixon) quarterback some and when got into the spread set we put in our ninth-grade quarter, Reed (Jinright),” Allen said. “They both played pretty well.”

Jinright was 2 for 5 on the night, with one touchdown. Hixon carried for 16 yards on 7 attempts and was four-of-five on PAT for the night.

Other offensive leaders for the team were Jones with 119 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns; Grice with 55 yards on three carries with one touchdown; and Tamaris Jamison with 20 yards on four carries.

Pike had 241 yards total offense, including 206 rushing and 35 passing. Evangel had only 153 yards, with 140 rushing and 13 passing.

Defensively, Tyler Hussey led the Patriots with seven tackles; Crowe and Jordan had six each; Sawyer McKenzie had five; Grice and Anthony Atwell had three each; and Scout Buffy, O’Brien, Jamison and Parker Eley each had two tackles.

Evangel’s only score of the game came with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, after a 13-play drive. The missed PAT set the final score at 30-6.

“We’re just going to keep working to get better,” Allen said after the game. “We’ve got to get a few of our guys healthy – Drew Starling is out and we have a couple of other guys banged up.

“After that, we’re going to keep working on fundamentals and getting better.”

The Patriots, 4-1, will host South Montgomery Academy on Friday.


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Zion Chapel falls to Highland Home

By Devin Smith

A second-quarter rally from Zion Chapel would not be enough to keep the Highland Home Flying Squadron down on Friday, and the Rebels went down fighting until the end with a score of 28-14.

The Rebels quickly found themselves trailing in the game after Jalen Clayton for Highland Home broke free for a 37-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter.

Zion Chapel was forced to punt, and it took the Flying Squadron just two plays to score again on a pushing their lead to 14-0.

The Flying Squadron would cash in again on the opening play of the second quarter with a 3-yard rushing touchdown to take a commanding 20-0 lead just 13 minutes into the game.

Head coach Bradley Bowers said he knew that his team was in for a long night after a quick start from the Flying Squadron.

“Well we didn’t do ourselves any favors when we came out the first 13 minutes of the game and gave up 20 points,” Bowers said. “We dug ourselves a big hole there. But, before the half we were able to come back out and make it 20-14, and I thought we made some good adjustments.”

The third Highland Home touchdown seemed to awaken the Rebels, and on the ensuing kickoff for Zion Chapel Chris Adair managed to get around the end and scamper up the field for what would be a 57-yard return that later resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run by Adair.

Following the touchdown Zion Chapel found themselves on the receiving end of a Highland Home fumble to give the Rebels great field position at the Flying Squadron 32-yard line. However, the Rebels were unable to make anything of the opportunity and lost possession with a turnover. The Rebel defense came out determined to give their offense at least one more chance to narrow the gap before half and were able to do so, then a short punt put Zion Chapel in a good position on the field with plenty of time to work with.

After almost being forced into a fourth-and-long situation, Highland Home kept the Rebels’ drive alive with a personal foul. Zion Chapel would take advantage of the penalty with another Adair touchdown run. The Rebels finished the half trailing the Flying Squadron by just one touchdown, and moved into the second half with two fumbles from Highland Home.

Zion Chapel was not able to capitalize on the opportunities, but looking into the coming week, Bowers said missed chances on the field would be something the team would work on for the next game and the rest of the season.

“We came out and get three turnovers, but offensively we down inside the 30 and we can’t do anything with it,” Bowers said. “It is hard to win when you do that. That’s something we have to go back on and look at the film on to make some corrections for next week.”

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but early in the fourth quarter Zion Chapel managed to convert on fourth-and-inches in their opponents’ territory to keep their drive alive. The Rebels turned the ball over on fourth and five after Mobley was tackled for a loss.

On the next drive Highland Home made sure to grind out the clock as the game winded down before ending the drive with a the final touchdown for the game from Cole Roper to effectively ending the game at 28-14.

Despite a tough loss Bowers said he was proud of his team’s resiliency after finding themselves facing an uphill battle early at home.

“That’s one thing about our team,” Bowers said. “We have really tried to get our guys to focus on playing each play and then let’s look at the scoreboard when the final horn sounds, and that’s the approach that the guys have adopted and that’s how they play.”

The loss against Highland Home pushed the Rebels 1-4 for the season. The Rebels will host the Kinston High School Bulldogs next Friday. The Bulldogs are currently 1-2 for the season. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in Jack.

 


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Troy traveling to Athens, aiming to refocus team

Troy traveling to Athens, aiming to refocus team

Running back for the Trojans, Khary Franklin dives over a Duke University Defender during the Trojans’ home opener for the season. The Trojans will travel to Athens this Saturday to face the UGA Bulldogs.  MESSENGER PHOTO/JOEY MEREDITH
Running back for the Trojans, Khary Franklin dives over a Duke University Defender during the Trojans’ home opener for the season. The Trojans will travel to Athens this Saturday to face the UGA Bulldogs.
MESSENGER PHOTO/JOEY MEREDITH

By Devin Smith

In his 24 years as the head coach of the Troy Trojans there has been no shortage of success or broken records for Larry Blakeney and his football program.

This season Blakeney is in the midst of setting a different personal record after Troy began with three straight losses for the first time during his tenure at the school, and the Trojans face an uphill battle in Athens with the 13th ranked Georgia Bulldogs (1-1) on Saturday if they hope to avoid a 0-4 start.

“It’s scary watching Georgia on tape,” Blakeney said. “They are great on offense, rush the football about as good as anybody I’ve seen. You know what they’ve got over there and we’re going to have to play really good to stay in it.”

Georgia is coming off a loss of their own to the South Carolina Gamecocks last weekend, and coach Mark Richt understands the significance of the game to both programs involved.

“They’re a team that is desperate for a victory, I’m sure,” Richt said of Troy. “But we’re desperate for a victory as well, so it ought to be a great game.”

The game will mark the second time the Trojans have traveled to Athens.

Troy came close leaving with an upset over the Bulldogs in 2007 before ultimately losing the game 44-34.

For the Trojans to give themselves a chance to steal a win from Georgia, a lot of focus should be on what seemed to be a susceptible Bulldog secondary with Troy’s patented fast-break style passing offense.

The effectiveness of that strategy will weigh heavily on whether or not redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Silvers will be able to suit up after suffering a concussion in the third quarter of the loss to Abilene Christian.

“Silvers is improving and I hope that he will recover in time to play, if not against Georgia, then for the conference season,” Blakeney said.

The meeting with the Bulldogs will be the final non-conference game for Troy before they begin an eight-game Sun Belt gauntlet with Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 27.

If Silvers can’t go, Blakeney is prepared to put the offense in the hands of junior college transfer Dontreal Pruitt, who proved he was more than capable to lead an offense last season at East Mississippi by leading his team to an undefeated season and the NJCAA National Championship.

“If he can throw in rhythm he really has a good throwing stroke and hit what he’s looking at,” Blakeney said. “And even though he can really run fast, he’s not a real runner. He’s not going to just stick it up in there, first flash he is going to make a move.”

Troy was also without senior linebacker Wayland Coleman-Dancer last week, who had knee surgery on Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time Coleman-Dancer has received the treatment, and Blakeney doesn’t expect it to prevent him from playing for very long.

“I wouldn’t dare say that Wayland would play as good as he could play, but he would probably try to play,” Blakeney said. “Him at 90 percent may be as good as another guy at a little more percent just based on experience.”

The Bulldogs and running back Todd Gurley are sure to take note of Coleman-Dancer’s absence and Troy’s porous run defense, while the Bulldogs are already averaging 272.5 yards per game on the ground against ranked teams.

Kickoff from between the hedges is set for noon, and the game can be watched on the SEC Network.


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‘Nobody is happy’: Blakeney, Hartwell respond to Trojans’ disappointing 0-3 start

 

No. 32 for the Trojans, Josh Shelton carries the ball during the game against Abilene Christian Saturday evening. MESSENGER PHOTO/JOEY MEREDITH
No. 32 for the Trojans, Josh Shelton carries the ball during the game against Abilene Christian Saturday evening.
MESSENGER PHOTO/JOEY MEREDITH

By Devin Smith

With a 0-3 start to the season, Troy football coaches, players and fans aren’t happy.

“There are plenty of excuses we could make, but I know none of you guys will buy them,” head coach Larry Blakeney said Monday. “We got beat, beaten by a good, well-coached team that I believe can beat anyone in the Sun Belt Conference … I’m not an excuse guy. If you want an excuse, you probably need to go somewhere else.

“All I know is that I’m not happy, the kids ain’t happy, nobody that cares about Troy is happy,” head coach Larry Blakeney said during his weekly press conference on Monday. “We have to deal with as we move forward and try to rectify. The team that we’re playing this week probably isn’t a good team to think about rectifying.”

The Trojans are coming off a disappointing 38-35 loss to Abilene Christian on Saturday and heading to face SEC powerhouse Georgia in Athens.

The rocky start to the season has brought out critics of both Blakeney and the Troy program, prompting Athletic Director John Hartwell to send a message to the fan base on Monday.

“If there’s a message to our fan base out there it’s ‘hey in times like this everybody’s got to stick together and have faith and belief in the leadership and what we’re trying to do is working to get better and win on a consistent basis,’” Hartwell said, adding that he has full confidence the team will continue to get better.

And, he said, he has full confidence in Blakeney, who is in his 24th season as head coach.

“Larry didn’t all of a sudden forget to how to coach over night,” Hartwell said. “The guy has won a whole bunch of football games and the guys on his staff have helped him win a bunch of football games.”

Blakeney’s record at the beginning of the season was 175-104-1, including 15 winning seasons and, since joining the Sun Belt conference in 2004, five conference crowns and five bowl games.

“And, we’ve got some very talented young me playing on our football team and as you heard some of the interviews today those guys are hurting too,” Hartwell said. “It’s not a time to say woe is me … it’s a time to focus that energy and say dammit, what can I do to get better, what can I do to help this team win?’”

Georgia is coming off its first loss of the season at the hands of No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks, and that could make for an angry and motivated pack of Bulldogs this weekend.

Led by Heisman candidate Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs are averaging over 433 yards of offense with more than half of those yards coming from the ground game, an area that the Trojans defense has struggled with this season.

Blakeney said though some may compare Gurley former Bulldog named Knowshon Moreno, he sees a different comparison.

“This one (Gurley) is comparable to the one everyone talks about, Herschel (Walker),” Blakeney said. “He is a different style runner, but he is big and powerful and sees everything. Herschel was more in-and-out, circle because he was so fast. This guy, he looks backside. Usually those big linemen give him a place to run, too.”

A big part of whether or not the Trojans will be able compete with the Bulldogs will the mindset they take between the hedges this Saturday.

Blakeney said he hopes his players can use the adversity to bring themselves together and right the ship.

“The thing that we have to sell them on is if they’re hurting, you don’t go outside, you go internal,” Blakeney said. “You embrace the guys you know that you can trust. You embrace each other. You try and find strength from each other.”

Blakeney said he expects from his Trojans the same things that he has for nearly a quarter-century.

“If you’re a competitor, which I think we have a group of guys that are, you will go to the practice field and the game field approaching it in a way to win for yourself, for your team, for your family, your Troy family, whoever. If we don’t have those kind of people we will be in trouble,” Blakeney said.


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PLAS falls to Monroe, 28-0 (PHOTO GALLERY)

PLAS falls to Monroe, 28-0 (PHOTO GALLERY)

MESSENGER PHOTOS / JOEY MEREDITH
MESSENGER PHOTOS / JOEY MEREDITH

 

Friday’s 28-0 loss to Monroe Academy was a tough one for the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots, but head football coach Gene Allen told his players to keep their heads up.

“We get to play next week,” Allen said. “This wasn’t playoff’s. We aren’t going home. We’ve got a chance to play again.”

The Volunteers were able to keep momentum high during the game as they scored twice in both the second and third quarters. The Patriots had six penalty calls in the first half and lost five playing yards during their time of possession, mainly from offside calls against the Patriots. The Patriots also gave up 15 yards to the Volunteers after a pass interference call. Allen said the Volunteers were able to capitalize on the Patriots’ penalties during the game.

“Penalties will kill you offensively,” Allen said. “It stops drives. It gets your timing off. It makes changes in plays, and makes you do some stuff. Defensively we can’t afford to keep them on the field. We made some penalties that gave Monroe the first down, and we can’t afford to do that. We’ve got to get off the field.”

Patriots quarterback Drew Starling passed for just over 100 yards during the game. Counterpart to Starling, No. 3 Marquise Christian said he knew the team would have to rely on their pass game.

“I knew we weren’t going to be able to run the ball,” Christian said. “They have good defensive linemen. I just had to catch the ball. I told him ‘throw it into my back shoulder, and I’ll catch it.’”

During the first quarter, No. 2 Rush Hixon made an astounding catch off a pass from Starling while surrounded by several Volunteer defenders for a key first down.

“It was just a little trick play we put in,” Allen said. “Rush is a good athlete, good competitor. He does a great job, and loves to play the game. He’s going to make some big plays.”

Offensive lineman CJ Allen was among the team leaders with seven tackles during the game. Coach Allen said while the defense wasn’t as strong as he liked, he was proud of the effort that was put into the game.

“We did some good things,” Allen said. “We did a lot of good things. We just didn’t capitalize on them.”

While the officials called heat time outs regularly throughout the game, Allen said both teams were facing the same heat and he did not feel the heat had impacted his players as much as it could have. “It’s hot, but it was hot for both teams,” Allen said. “I thought we did pretty well. I don’t think we had anybody cramp up. I know we had some that got a little tired, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

The Patriots, now 1-1 will travel to Selma to face the Morgan Academy Senators next Friday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Allen said the Patriots are looking forward to next Friday’s game. “We played hard, and we’ll continue to play hard,” Allen said. “It’s a long season. It’s early in the year. I know our guys want to do well, so we’re looking to get better. We’ve just got to get better up front, offensively and defensively. We’ve got to play a little tougher. We’ve got to protect the ball and not get those penalties to keep drives going. The mental part of the game, we’ve got to get better.”

 


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Troy’s Anthony Williams has ties to the ACC

Anthony Williams moves around campus a lot quicker these days.

Williams, a Troy defensive end, spent the first three years of his career at ACC power Georgia Teach. Each day in practice, Williams, and the rest of the defensive players, would try to man up against Paul Johnson’s triple option offense.

The transfer to Troy has allowed Williams to ease up on the ice packs.

“ All that cutting,” Williams said with a smile. “My knees are very happy. I’ll say that . No doubt about that. It felt good playing against a regular offense going back to what I was playing in high school.”

In high school, Williams was rated as the 25th best prospect in the state of Georgia by Rivals, and was named to the Georgia 5A First Team.

He inked with Tech in 2010, and graduated with a degree in management in 2014. Williams redshirted in 2010, so following graduation he still had one year of eligibility left.

When he was beginning his search for a new place to play football, his phone rang. It was Troy coach defensive line coach Randy Butler.

“ I started talking with Coach Butler and just knowing the history of the defensive line here at Troy,” Williams said. ”Demarcus Ware is one of my favorite NFL defensive ends/defensive players. It was a good push for me.”

At Georgia Tech, Williams played in 28 games and recorded 17 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble during his time in gold and white.

After making the decision to become a Trojan, Williams put the skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of Atlanta in his rearview mirror and traded it in for the oak and magnolia trees of Troy.

“It’s pretty much a slow process, coming from the city and coming down to a small town, college town like Troy,” Williams said. “I’ve got used to it. I’m trying to make the best out of it.”

Williams has seen Duke before, and has helped Jamal Stadom, Troy’s starting defensive end, as much as possible.

The duo has worked well together, with Williams taking on the role of mentor.

“It puts a bigger leadership role on me,” Williams said. “Being an older player and having more experience, you tend to see the type of mistakes he will make just because he is a young (guy). I understand going in practice against the scout team is much slower than the college stage that we play.”

With just one season of eligibility left, Williams hopes to put it to good use.

Being my last year, I just want to give it all I’ve got. I come down here to a good program like Troy, I (want to) get better each and every day. I feel very comfortable here.”

Troy hosts Duke Saturday at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.


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Silvers: I don’t need to think as much, just let it fly

To play quarterback at the FBS level, you might assume that a player must possess a computer for a brain.

Quarterbacks are asked to break down defenses, make reads and get the ball to the right skill player in less time than it takes the average person to walk three steps.

But Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers says he thought too much during UAB’s 48-10 whipping of the Trojans Saturday at Legion Field.

He plans on going back to what brought him to the highest level of college football – his right arm.

“I watched the film on my phone yesterday (Sunday) morning, then watched it with coach and again last night,” Silver said. “I need to make simple reads and try not to think too much. I think I was thinking too much. When I first got here, I was over thinking a lot. I need to go through my reads and if it is not there, check it down or run. Just let it fly, and hopefully Saturday will be different. It will be different.”

Silvers completed 16 of 23 passes, but the connections only brought in 153 yards. Of Troy’s 192 passing yards, 41 came on the first play of the game, and 25 more came on a pass to K.D. Edenfield in the fourth quarter well after the game was decided.

Silvers was also sacked four times.

Despite the rough opening game, Silvers feels the Trojans will be better in Saturday’s home opener against the Duke Blue Devils.

After getting sacked four times last week, he has a plan in case he can’t locate an open receiver.

“I have to get the ball to the playmakers,” Silvers said. “If they drop everyone back, like this week they will probably drop eight, I have to check down and get it to the backs and let them make a play. I just need to learn from my mistakes, get the ball out quicker, make better reads and go get a W.”


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QB battle still not settled as Troy heads to the Magic City

One single question has dominated Larry Blakeney’s media sessions since the beginning of fall practice: Who will be Troy’s starting quarterback?

With the Trojans’ season opener against UAB just hours away, the answer remains a mystery.

The official Troy depth chart lists the quarterbacks as Brandon Silvers OR Dontreal Pruitt OR Dallas Tidwell.

Silvers may have a small edge over the other two quarterbacks, but offense coordinator Kenny Edenfield feels at least two of the three will play in the opener.

“I do believe all three guys have a possibility to play in the first game,” Edenfield said. “I hope I don’t have to play all three, but there’s a possibility they could. I think two – that’s probably the plan. It would be more along the lines of series. I would like to get both in the first half, for sure and kind of see how it goes. None of those guys have had any game action with us – Dallas has had a little but not really per se. Just kind of see how they’re doing. We’ve kind of got a pecking order. All three have done really well, but it’s got its pecking order.”

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney feels the position battle during fall camp has made all three quarterbacks, as well as fourth stringer Connor Bravard, better.

“The guys have all worked – three of them for sure,” Blakeney said. “Connor Bravard is a ways off, but he’s put the time and work in also. Dallas has been here three years. Dontreal got here in the spring, and 12 – he’s been three years – grayshirted, redshirted and this is his redshirt freshman year. They all have got their strong points.”

Troy and UAB are set for an 11 a.m. kickoff Saturday from historic Legion Field in Birmingham.