Trojans upset top-ranked Bulldogs in 1985 classic

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Sports Editor

It would go down as one of the greatest upsets in CHHS-Pike County history.

On Oct. 25, 1985, Charles Henderson came into Brundidge as an underdog team under first-year head coach Ronnie Gilliand. The Trojans were 4-3 and going up against Wayne Grant’s Bulldogs, who had claimed the No. 1 spot in Class 4A four weeks prior to the game. No one gave the Trojans much hope against the 8-0 Bulldogs, a team with an offense that was averaging 39 points per game.

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But the Bulldogs weren’t counting on one thing.

The Trojans’ defense.

Charles Henderson dominated the war in the trenches, amassing 215 yards on the ground, while holding the vaunted PCHS running game to just 86 yards rushing. CHHS fullback Walter Arnold pounded his way inside for 104 yards in 19 carries, while the Trojans’ defense held Pike County’s All-State running back Harry Varnes to a 51 yard rushing total.

CHHS won the game 12-6, but the Bulldogs had their chance at the end to tie it up or possibly take a victory.

With time winding down and facing a fourth and seven on the Trojans’ 35-yard line, Varnes was able to haul in a pass from quarterback Mark Hurt and scamper 13-yards for the first.

A few plays later Pike County faced the impossible challenge of picking up 16-yards on another fourth down, this time at the Troy 29-yard line. An Anthony Holland pass on a reverse was deflected by CHHS’s Sam Drake in the secondary, but amazingly, Pike County’s Marvin Pearson came down with the catch at the Trojans’ 3-yard line.

With no time outs and just 30 seconds left in the game, Grant elected to send Hurt straight up the middle of the Trojans’ defense.

But there to meet Hurt at the goaline and drive him back was CHHS’s Vincent McSwain, Larry Shaver and Julius Pittman. Time expired before the Bulldogs could line up for another play.

It was a game of lucky breaks for each team.

CHHS’s Tommy Jackson danced close to the endzone from 4-yards out

with 7:29 left in the first half, but fumbled the ball past the goaline. However, Jackson’s fumble was recovered by teammate Richard Green for the touchdown to put the Trojans up 6-0.

With their offense sputtering, Hurt got the Bulldogs on the board when he picked up a botched Trojans’ field goal attempts and returned it for the score, tying the game at 6-6 with 2:50 left in the third.

At the 6:50 mark of the last quarter, the Trojans took the lead for good. Drake, playing quarterback, scored from five-yards out for the final margin of victory.

CHHS ended the season 4-6 after falling to Valley in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs, 20-19. The Bulldogs’ year would end at 10-2 a week later with a 14-7 loss to Elba.