Here’s Wishing all a happy Thanskgiving

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 23, 2001

Sports Columnist

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! If you’re as full of turkey as I am, all you’ve felt like doing today is watch football.

Texas will crush Texas A&M; LSU will beat Arkansas; Nebraska will ease past Colorado; East Carolina will win over Southern Mississippi and Louisville will whallop TCU.

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Congratulations to Charles Henderson High School and Goshen High School for outstanding performances and second-round playoff berths in the 2001 football season.

Coach Wayne Grant’s Pike County High School Bulldogs is the only team in Pike County that’s still got title hopes.

The Bulldogs play at undefeated 11-0 Aliceville tonight. Grant seems to do his best coaching during the playoffs, so don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs advance to the championships.

Troy State took care of business Saturday afternoon with its seventh straight victory over its arch rival Jacksonville State.

In Larry Blakeney’s seventh game against his biggest rival, his team’s 7-0 and has outscored his opponent 230-54.

Troy State’s defense held the Gamecocks, who were averaging 36 points a game to a mere field goal.

The 21-3 Trojan victory brought to an end a rivalry that has lasted 63 years. Of course, the Gamecocks can brag that they still lead the series 33-28-2. From 1924 to 1966, the Gamecocks won 22, lost nine and tied two. During that stretch, they won 13 games straight from 1954 until 1966 over Trojan teams that were a miserable 28-73.

During the modern days ­ from 1967 to 2001 ­ the Trojans were 19-11 against the Gamecocks, including the last seven in a row. Trojan teams during the modern-day of college football were 259-106-6.

Billy Atkins turned Troy State’s football fortunes around when he came here in 1966, compiling a six-year record of 44-16-2 and a national title in 1968.

Atkins brought back the winning tradition to Troy State. Not since the late Albert Elmore Sr. era ­ from 1931 to 1937 (33-24-3) ­ had Troy State been a consistent winner.

Since 1966, Troy State has had 30 winning seasons and three national championships.

Saturday’s victory over Jax State assured Blakeney of his 10th winning season in 11 attempts. In 1991, Blakeney’s first season and only losing season (5-6), his teams lost five games by a touchdown or less, including two two-point games and another by a field goal. The largest margin of defeat was 11 points.

To say Larry Blakeney has done a great job coaching at Troy State (98-33-1) is a huge understatement.

Blakeney, in 11 years with one game remaining against North Texas next Saturday, has put Troy State football on the national charts as the 7j4th ranked football team in America. Not bad for a program that won only 26 games form 1955 to 1965.

We’ve got a chance to go 7-4 against one of the hardest schedules in America.

Troy State vs North Texas! Let’s do it! See you on Dec. 1! Go Trojans!