Trojans brace for Wilcox running attack

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2000

Sports Editor

Tonight Charles Henderson High School (7-1, 4-1) will probably face its toughest task of the season in stopping a Wilcox-Central (8-1, 5-0) running attack that ranks as one of the best in the state and averages almost 400 yards a game on the ground.

The Tigers come into tonight’s game ranked as the No. 6 team in Class 5A. The Trojans are No. 9.

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No doubt, Memorial Stadium will be filled with the big game atmosphere usually reserved for Troy State, something which is not lost on CHHS head coach Hugh Fountain.

"We want to have a big crowd out for the game, because I know Wilcox-Central will bring a lot of people themselves," he said. "We really need the people of Troy to be there."

For the Tigers, tonight’s game is a chance for them to clinch the Class 5A Region 2 title outright. After losing the first game of the season to Class 6A power Sidney Lanier 7-0, Wilcox has torn off eight straight wins and hold an unbeaten 5-0 mark in region play.

And a lot of the Tigers’ wins haven’t been pretty. For example:Oct. 27, Wilcox 41, Carroll 0; Oct. 13, Wilcox 68, Southside-Selma 6; Sept. 29, Wilcox 80, Russell County 7.

You get the idea.

But as lopsided as those wins have been, Fountain points out one key factor as to why the Tigers have been running roughshod over everybody.

"The reason they’ve been blowing people out is because of turnovers," he said. "A lot of those team’s turned the ball over deep inside their own territory and if you give them (Wilcox) a short field to work with, they’re going to beat you and beat you bad. We can’t turn the ball over to them like that."

Wilcox-Central’s offense is nothing fancy; a double wing, two tightend set which the Tigers have used to steamroll over, around and through virtually everyone they’ve faced. The two major catalysts of this offense is running back’s Jeremiah Moten (6-3, 200) and Eric Packer (5-9, 175). Moten possesses the power and Packer has the speed.

"There’s no doubt that Moten will be the best running back we’ve faced all year," said Fountain.

Fountain called Moten even better then Hillcrest running back Derrick Rogers, who helped lead the Jaguars to a grand total of 262 yards rushing in his team’s 20-18 win over the Trojans on Sept. 22.

"I’m trying to figure out a way to play 14 people on defense, but that’s not going to happen," said Fountain, joking.

However the Tigers are not as one dimensional as Hillcrest, which passed the ball just one time against CHHS.

"They (Wilcox-Central) throw the ball maybe ten or 12 times a game and they’ve thrown about ten touchdowns this season," Fountain said.

When tailback Terrill Smith and the Trojans’ offense take the field, they’ll be staring across the ball at one of the largest defensive lines the Trojans have faced all year.

"It’s going to be tough to run the ball against Wilcox," said Fountain. "Their defensive ends are quick and their nose guard and inside people play well and are huge. Athletically they match-up well with the speed we have at wide receiver."

With a win though, the Trojans can turn an otherwise cut-and-dry situation into a three-way tie for first place, providing Hillcrest-Evergreen (7-2, 4-1) can beat Carroll High School in Ozark on Friday night.

The last time the Trojans and Tigers met was in a spring jamboree in 1998. Wilcox-Central won that one in Troy by the final score of 8-7.

"That particular year I think they were coming off of a 9-1 season and last season they went 5-5," said Fountain.

Both teams have come a long way since that jamboree. The Trojans have went from 4-6 last year to 7-1 so far this season. CHHS will also make their first appearance in the Class 5A state playoffs since Fountain took over the job in 1996.

But tonight’s outcome will have plenty to say about where the Trojans end up in the first round on Nov. 10. A loss probably seeds Charles Henderson as the third team in Region 2, which means a road game, while a win keeps the Trojans at home.