Bulldogs and Trojans kickoff the season right

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Sports Columnist

This has got to be the most exciting time of the year! Football season in "good ole" Troy, Alabama.

The first whistles blow at 7:30 Friday night as the Pike Liberal Arts School Patriots do battle with the Eagles of Fort Dale Academy at DeWight Ward Field in Troy. The Patriots will dress just three seniors against "Speed" Sampley’s Eagles, who are expected to be one of the strongest 3A teams in the Alabama Independent School Association. Coach DeWight Ward’s team could surprise some teams, with a solid group of juniors carrying the charge.

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Another big game this Friday night takes place in Brundidge when Pike County High School collides with Charles Henderson High School in a pre-season "Jamboree." The two teams, who have played during the regular season for several years, could not fit their game in this season due to scheduling difficulties brought on by the new regional format.

In fact both Pike County and CHHS will be playing a nine game schedule instead of the customary 10 game slate.

Don’t look at this game as one that doesn’t carry a lot of importance, because it does. First of all the game will be played just like a regular season game with kickoff and punts. Also there will be the same pageantry, with the CHHS Blue Machine Band and the Pride of Pike County Marching Band performing at the half.

Of course it’s a game of bragging rights for the county. Pike County has now dropped to Class 3A and will be a decided underdog to the 5A Trojans who look to have one of its best team in years. Depth is a problem for Coach Wayne Grant who will dress only 22 players for the game, while the Trojans will dress 72 players, 25 of which who are seniors.

Don’t be fooled by the numbers, however, because the ‘Dawgs are there and they have the Trojans trapped in their house. What I’m saying is that the 22 players that Coach Grant will dress are good players who play very hard for their coach.

Pike County has a very big game the next week against powerful Eufaula in their home season opener. A key injury during the CHHS game could mean trouble for the Bulldogs early.

Charles Henderson looks to the strong arm of senior quarterback Kevin Stephens to help carry what looks like a potent offense. Stephens made great strides during the spring and was one of the more impressive quarterbacks at the Bowden Football Academy held at Troy State earlier in the summer.

Stephens will have a number of strong receivers to throw to and if he gets the protection that he did during the spring, the Trojans could light up the scoreboards this fall.

Senior’s Trevon Hemphill, Will Jones, Terrence Kelly, Terrill Smith, Jerome Townsend and sophomore’s Clint Pugh and Roderick Burden give the Trojans experience galore at the wide out position.

Attitude has a lot to do with who wins this game each year. Last year the Bulldogs were the underdog and they won the game 14-12, in what I think was Coach Grant’s best coaching job ever. Grant has a knack for getting his teams ready to play CHHS and nothing says he won’t be able to do it again this year.

My gut feeling here says the Trojans’ numbers in depth will wear down the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter in this gruelling battle in the heat. Charles Henderson 21 Pike County 7.

CHHS has a bye next week and will open the season on Sept. 8 at Memorial Stadium against the Opp Bobcats.

One other prediction to give this weekend is Florida State 45 to BYU’s 24 in the Pigskin Classic to be held in Jacksonville, Florida this Saturday night.

It’s time for all you football fans to be happy!