Trojans fighting tradition

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2001

Greenville used to control 5A football in South Alabama


Sports Editor

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In the late 80s and early 90s the road to the Class 5A state playoffs, for Charles Henderson High School, ran through one city.

Greenville, Alabama.

In those days, all depended on how a team did in its area. Regional alignment, with its seven-team regions, was unheard of. Usually it was just four, sometimes three teams, fighting it out for two postseason spots and their chance at state title glory.

Traditional rivalries developed among CHHS and their area opponents. Andalusia. Opp. And Greenville.

Although the Trojans, Andy, and the Bobcats, each had their share of success, Greenville essentially dominated area play. Under Willis Wright, the Tigers won the Class 5A state championship in 1987, and again under Gene Allen in ’94. They were runners-up in 1983 and 1993.

And no team, other then Stanhope-Elmore, has had the Trojans’ number like GHS has since 1979. CHHS has won just four games over the Tigers in that period. Two of Troy’s worst beatings have come against Greenville, who handed CHHS two 40-0 losses in ’95 and ’89.

The wins have been somewhat close, winning 15-12 in 1980, enroute to the Trojans first and only state championship. Their second win didn’t come until over a decade later in 1991, 6-0, breaking a seven game losing streak to GHS. Charles Henderson won again in 1992, 24-13. Following the Trojans’ win in 1992, Greenville won three straight.

Area realignment dropped Greenville from the schedule in 1996, current head coach Hugh Fountain’s first year at CHHS.

With region play firmly in place in 2000, the rivalry between the Tigers and Trojans resumed. Kevin Stephens tossed three touchdowns to lead CHHS to a 28-13 win in Tiger Stadium and their first playoff berth of the Hugh Fountain Era.

Alvin Briggs, who played for the Tigers in the early 80s, returned to lead his alma mater in 2001 following the offseason departure of one-year head coach Terry Moore. Briggs has built this year’s version of the Tigers with a "defense-first" attitude. They come into Friday night’s match-up with a dangerous 3-3 record, those three losses coming against top-notch 6A competition.

Both CHHS and Greenville are unbeaten in region play, which makes this a crucial game as far as the playoffs and home field advantage in the postseason goes.

This will also be the last home game for seven Troy seniors. The Trojans conclude the regular season at Carroll-Ozark, at Andalusia and at Wilcox-Central.