Seniors go out winners against North Texas

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2001

Sports Columnist

Troy State’s big victory over North Texas last Saturday will go down in history as one of the Trojans’ biggest wins ever.

To beat a

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good Division I-A team anytime is a big, but to do it on your homefield makes it even bigger.

North Texas was a very good football team with a huge offensive line. Their defense was just as good and they proved it down the stretch, keeping the Trojans out of the endzone three times on first and goal situations.

UNT head coach Darrell Dickey had some nice things to say about Troy State.

"They have a great defense," he said. "The game went down to the wire and our hats are off to them."

When you’ve got two evenly matched teams and both are playing hard, it will probably come down to the end and it did.

Dickey also complimented Troy State’s spread offense.

"Their receivers were very talented and made us have to make some adjustments on defense," Dickey said. "Their running back (Demontray Carter) is a heck of a player. We’d think we had him stopped at the line of scrimmage and he would break free for extra yardage."

TSU’s defense in the second half allowed the "Mean Green" only one first down and just 22 yards in total offense.

Carter rushed for 149 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown, that coming on a 34 yard run in the third quarter. Carter’s performance was the first time this season that a back had gained over one hundred yards against North Texas’ defense. It was Carter’s 13th touchdown of the year.

Of course, the key to victory was Drew Boteler’s 22 yard field goal with 23 seconds left. A picture of his kick shows Boteler falling to the ground on the slick turf as he made contact with the ball. He got just enough into it to get the ball over the crossbars and give the Trojans one of its most memorable wins ever.

The win was head coach Larry Blakeney’s 50th win ever at home during his 11 year tenure to go with nine losses.

Blakeney’s record at Troy State is now 99-33-1. Not bad for a country boy from Gordo, Alabama.

Blakeney has had some great years at TSU, going 10-1 in ’92, 12-1-1 in ’93, 11-1 in 1995, 12-2 in 1996, 11-2 in 1999 and 10-2 in 2000. But I think his 7-4 year in 2001 might have been his best coaching job ever.

Going up against the toughest schedule in TSU history, and one of the toughest in the country this season, Blakeney’s 7-4 record should be looked at when the Coach of the Year ballots go out.

Larry Blakeney is one outstanding football coach and to Trojan fans all over the country, he’s got our vote.

For Wayne Bolt and his "Deadbolt Defense", I’d rank them as one of the top ten in the country.

Of course, the Trojans received great leadership from this team’s 11 seniors. Six were starters, if you count linebacker Ben Waldrop.

I enjoyed reading some of the quotes the seniors made in the game program on Saturday.

When asked how he felt about TSU’s move to Division-IA, Carter said: "I think it’s good for the program and it gives Coach Blakeney a chance to prove to the world how great a coach he is."

Carter also answered the question, who has made biggest impact in your life?

"God," he replied. "Because he has blessed me with the talent to play football and has given me a second chance to play football after my mistake at Auburn."

When asked how he feels about the move to Division-IA, Vernon Marable, a senior defensive end from Ashland, said: "We have shown the world that we are capable of playing with anyone on any given Saturday. We have opened a lot of eyes and I think that we’ll get more great athletes to come and play for the Trojans. I see Troy State as being a future IA powerhouse that teams like Mississippi State wouldn’t dare schedule for homecoming."

Linebacker Jimmy McClain said: "The move was great. We didn’t have the playoffs are a conference title to play for, but we got to play the big boys…Nebraska, Miami, Mississippi State and Maryland."

"I give the Trojans five more years of shocking the ones who never believed," said quarterback Brock Nutter.

Senior defensive lineman Carlos Stennis said, "I feel honored to be a part of the first team to go Division IA."

Waldrop was asked about his most memorable moment off the field. "Giving my life to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," he said.

When asked about the Trojans move to D-I, he replied: "I feel that it was the right move and all TSU alumni will benefit from it for years."

Mighty impressive statements from a solid group of young men.

They’ll be better people for having experienced football at Troy State. And we’ll be better from knowing them and watching them mature into grown men and good citizens.