’84 was Grant’s first win over CHHS

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2001

Sports Editor

For three long years nine seniors on the 1984 Pike County football team had awaited their chance to take a victory over in-county rival Charles Henderson.

Not only were the Bulldogs’ seniors looking for their first victory over CHHS, but head coach Wayne Grant was as well. In Grant’s first year at Pike County in 1982, the Bulldogs had dropped a 35-12 decision to the Trojans and had lost a heartbreaker 10-6 in 1983.

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After posting a 7-3 record the year prior, the Trojans came into the game against the Bulldogs without a win to their credit at 0-7. The CHHS offense was managing a pitiful 5.9 points per game and the defense was giving up over 25 points per contest. Prior to the Oct. 26 contest held at Memorial Stadium, Charles Henderson had suffered three shutouts to Elba (28-0), Auburn (28-0), and Eufaula (33-0).

Brundidge, meanwhile, had their offense set on cruise control.

With a 7-1 record and ranked fifth in the state, Pike County had outscored opponents 252-82, while the defense was giving up just 10.2 points a game. They only setback of the season had come on Sept. 28 against No. 1 Elba, 33-24.

If the Trojans were looking for someone to stop the bleeding, they weren’t about to get any help from the Bulldogs.

On Pike County’s second possession of the ballgame, running back Harry Varnes took a routine hand-off from quarterback Mark Hurt and raced upfield for a 83-yard touchdown. Varnes, who had sat out Pike County’s three previous games due to a leg injury suffered against Elba, totalled 185 yards rushing on 17 carries as the Bulldogs amassed 354 yards of offense to CHHS’s 179 in a 28-7 win. The Bulldogs had 258 yards on the ground, while Hurt completed 3-of-4 passes for 87 yards.

James McClain added another score for Brundidge on a six-yard run in the first quarter, before a CHHS touchdown and the subsequent PAT by Chuck Ingram cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half at 14-7.

Undeterred though, the Bulldogs marched back down the field with Marvin Pearson capping off a 68-yard drive with a one-yard plunge over the goaline. The 2-point conversion made it 22-7 in favor of Pike County at the half.

Russell Baker finished off the Trojans when he hauled in a pass from Hurt and went 81-yards for the Bulldogs’ final score of the game in the fourth quarter.

"This win was a once in a lifetime chance for our seniors," said Grant after the game. "Harry had some good yardage and ran the ball well. We spent most of our time on defense in the third quarter, but our defense played well. This was a very physical game."

CHHS closed out the season at 0-9 the following Friday night with a 24-0 loss to Greenville.

Pike County went on to avenge the regular season loss to Elba with a 21-7 win over the still unbeaten Tigers in the second round of the playoffs. However, T.R. Miller would end the Bulldogs’ season at 11-2 with a 31-6 pounding the next week in Brewton.