Roderick Burden (center, white) gets gang tackled during the Trojans’ intrasquad game on Friday.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 6, 2001

Trojans enter season ‘young’


Sports Editor

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Charles Henderson head coach Hugh Fountain had a simple statement to make during his football team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Friday.

"We’re young," he said. "Real, real young."

CHHS returns just seven seniors to a team that went 8-3 in 2000 and made an appearance in the Class 5A state playoffs, the first for a Trojans’ team since 1993.

However, as Fountain and his staff opened spring drills last week, he quickly realized that his sixth football squad at CHHS is long on talent, but short on experience.

Especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Gone is the team’s leading rusher (Terrill Smith), record-breaking quarterback (Kevin Stephens), and the top two receivers (Trevon Hemphill and Will Jones). Graduation also ravaged the entire offensive line, where junior Chaz Richards is the lone returning starter. Last season’s AHSAA Class 5A Lineman of the Year Von Ewing is headed to the University of Alabama this fall.

"All in all we’ve lost 10 of 11 starters on offense," said Fountain. "We do have some kids with experience that played last year, but they’ve just got to get in and learn our system."

Sophomore Pete Van Horn is expected to take over quarterback duties in the fall. Van Horn saw limited action last season on the varsity squad, but did lead the Trojans’ junior varsity team to an undefeated season. Van Horn possesses a strong arm and also pitches for the CHHS baseball team.

"We just got Pete up from baseball so Thursday was his first day out," Fountain said. "He’s looked good so far, but like I said, he’s still learning. I’ve been pleased with the effort shown him and by all the kids."

After tossing an early interception to Clint Pugh on Friday, Van Horn, who ran both the first and second team offense, found Roderick Burden in the corner of the endzone for a 10-yard strike. Burden, a junior, returns as the Trojans’ main kickoff and punt return threat, a lighting quick athlete who was also

a stellar cornerback last season for the Trojans. Burden led the team in interceptions with five and returned two picks for scores.

Junior Jarvis Woods is expected to take over as CHHS’s top tailback in 2001. Unlike last year’s tandem of Smith and fellow senior Felix Soloman, Woods looks to have the power to run between the tackles. However, since the Trojans like to go with a split-back offense a majority of the time, Fountain is still searching for a second halfback. Likely candidates to take Soloman’s place are sophomores Duran Boykin and Steven Terry.

"Our offense is going to be kept level with our kid’s experience," said Fountain. "But we’ll still be doing pretty much the same things we did last year."

The team’s top five tacklers have graduated, including linebacker Lawrence Mosely, who terrorized opponents’ special teams last season blocking five kicks. Fellow linebacker Wesley Pennington is gone as is nose guard Jason Barron and defensive captain Norman Grubbs.

But Fountain says he has been pleased with the play of his defense so far this spring, despite the losses.

"Defensively, we’re farther along this spring then we were last spring," he said. "We’ve had a number of players step up including Chaz Richards, Melvin Scott and Aquanta Grandberry."

Sophomore Josh Post returns as the Trojans’ placekicker after having a stellar season as a freshman. Post was virtually automatic on PAT attempts last year. A replacement must be found for Stephens, who also handled the Trojans’ punting duties last season.