Charles Henderson is back where they belong

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Sports Columnist

Five years ago the Troy City Board of Education hired a young coach from Brewton, Alabama to be the head football coach at Charles Henderson High School.

It has not been easy for Hugh Fountain to build a solid football program in Troy, but from what this year’s team looks like and what the future prospects are he has definitely turned the corner.

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After some up and down years and no playoff appearances, Fountain’s fortunes have not looked bright until now.

His Trojan football team enters Memorial Stadium Friday against arch rival Andalusia with a solid 6-1 record (7-1 if you include the Trojans’ victory over Pike County High School in the opening season jamboree) and are ranked ninth in the state in Class 5A.

Right now the Trojans are 4-1 in region play and have already clinched a spot in the 5A state playoffs.

They say it takes time and patience to build a successful football program and Fountain has done just that. His team’s from 1996-1999 played the tough schedules and found winning seasons few and far between. His 1997 team did go 6-4. Fountain’s teams weren’t winning big the last four seasons, but at the same time he was building a program. He was teaching the right things.

It all started with a bunch of eighth graders at the middle school and they’ve stayed together ever since to make up an outstanding senior class this year.

These 22 seniors have played together from the eighth grade on up and the results have been amazing.

This Trojan team, with a solid quarterback in Kevin Stephens, senior running backs Terrill Smith (14 TDs) and Felix Soloman and senior wide receivers, Trevon Hemphill, Will Jones, Terrence Kelly and Jerome Townsend are a very good offensive football team.

In fact this Trojan team might be the highest scoring team ever, averaging 39 points per game after seven games.

Stephens has been an exceptional passer, completing 51-of-100 for 920 yards and 10 touchdowns. His favorite target is the same player who was his favorite target in the eighth grade, Will Jones. Jones has caught 22 passes for 468 yards and five scores.

Fountain has developed a senior-laden offensive line led by Vaughn Ewing a 6-5, 296 pound tackle. Next to him is senior Ziad Rollins (5-11, 280) and senior center Brett Watson (6-2, 220). Senior Richard Gilchrist (6-1, 189) splits time at the the other guard with sophomore Chaz Richards (5-11, 238). Senior Marcus Jones (5-8, 255) is at the other tackle. The tight end is DeMario Byrd (6-1, 222).

On defense the Trojans have been stingy with a solid group of seniors leading the attack. In seven games, the Trojans have yielded only 15 points a game.

Leading tacklers are senior linebackers Lawrence Mosley, 76, and Norman Grubbs with 67. Close behind is nose guard Jason "Red" Barron with 48 and hard-nosed defensive tackle Wesley Pennington has 47 stops so far this season. Mosley has also blocked six kicks, all of which led to Trojan scores.

Seniors’ Jonathan West, Will Broadway and Robert Maldon have also been impressive. Jones, Smith, Kelly and Townsend have been mainstays in the secondary.

They say to win big each year, you’ve got to have a strong bunch of leaders and this senior group has been just that.

To build a strong program and stay there you’ve got to have a good feeder program. By this, I mean a strong junior and senior class each year.

Taking a look at what Charles Henderson’s feeder teams have done this year can put your mind to rest for awhile.

Just look at Coach Forrest Lee’s seventh and eighth grade teams. The eighth graders were 6-1, winning its last six in a row. They’ll send at least 30 solid players to the ninth grade team next year. How about that ninth grade team? 7-0 and beating Enterprise twice, Ozark twice and Northview once. They go for an unbeaten season Thursday night at James A. Baker Field against Northview.

The Trojan junior varsity, made up mostly of ninth and tenth grade players won all five of their games. If that’s not a successful feeder program I don’t know what is.

I’ve watched and studied Charles Henderson’s football program for many years and never have I seen a better spirit amongst the kids playing football in the Troy program.

Young boys growing up in Troy today want to wear the orange and blue in a big way. They can’t wait to get there.

You can see with your own eyes the progress that Coach Fountain and his staff have made the last five years. Yes! I’ll say that Hugh Fountain has built a strong program at CHHS. How strong remains to be seen in the rest of this season and in the playoffs.

The future is bright for Trojans’ football for years to come because now young boys are eager to put on that orange headgear.

I’m excited to know that Trojan football is back where it should be and the talent is there to build for the future.

Thank you Hugh Fountain for the patience and perseverance it took to build Troy’s program back.

I encourage you to go to the stadium Friday night and see for yourself.

Go Trojans!