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Training day:

Charles Henderson football team spends spring preparing for tough fall football schedule

Somebody mentioned something about an athlete having his way with McDonald’s apple pies at Charles Henderson’s spring football practice session on Monday.

"What do you know about that?" asked Trojans’ offensive coordinator Byrant Vincent, directing his question toward the supposed offending player.

With only four months remaining before the start of the high school football season, Vincent and CHHS head coach Hugh Fountain certainly hope their players will keep an eye on the scale and their head in what they’ve learned so far. The Trojans will cap off spring training with a intra-squad scrimmage on Friday.

Come fall, 22 seniors will lead Charles Henderson into their first game of the year; a road contest against nemesis Pike County in Brundidge. That’s a far cry from the six seniors Fountain and his staff had to work with last season.

"When you have everybody back, regardless of what grade they’re in, they’re going to have a good idea of what’s expected of them and what you want out of them," said Fountain. "I knew from the first day, that they’ve come to work hard this spring."

11 starters return on both sides of the ball from last year’s 9-3 team which advanced to the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs, falling to Robertsdale at Memorial Stadium 14-0.

And although the team remains basically the same, the 2002 schedule does not.

The Trojans are still in Region 2, where they finished runner-up to Wilcox-Central in 2000 and third last season, but gone are Southside-Selma and Monroe County. Both schools have dropped to 4A this year.

In their place is traditional 5A powerhouse Eufaula. Also joining Region 2 this season are Escambia County (Atmore), Russell County and Booker T. Washington. Wilcox-Central, Carroll-Ozark and Greenville are the only other opponents that still remain in the region.

"The schedule’s going to be tough the whole way through," said Fountain. "And our region’s going to be tough. We’ve also got Northview, Daleville and Andalusia."

Fountain said the coaches and the players have been having to deal with one of the "hottest springs" ever. Thundershowers rolled through Troy on Monday afternoon bringing a much-welcomed break from the heat.

"Come August, though, the heat’s not as bad because you’ve become somewhat acclimated to it," said Fountain.

Junior Pete Van Horn returns to lead the Trojans on offense and will be backed-up by senior Roderick Burden. Burden is a "do-all" type of athlete, who split time with Van Horn in the position last year. He’s Fountain’s preferred option in short, goal line situations because of his quickness from under center.

Burden, who also returns punts, will team-up with fellow senior Clint Pugh at wide receiver; a unit which Vincent said possesses the "best talent he’s seen in years." Jacquez Green returns and Fernando White, a former running back, has been moved to wide out also, bringing a deep threat that was missing last season to the Trojans’ spread attack.

The Trojans’ entire rushing attack returns, although one starter, Jarvis Woods, is sitting out this spring because of knee surgery.

The defense will be led by seniors Melvin Scott and Chaz Richards on the line and Randall Maddox and Chima McClain at linebacker. Duran Boykin will head up the CHHS secondary.

"The guy that’s impressed me the most is Jebraskee Thomas," said Fountain. "He was very good for us last year, but he’s improved a lot at defensive tackle."