Trojans fall to BTW on road

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 3, 2005

TUSKEGEE - Much of the momentum that engulfed the Charles Henderson football season the past two weeks took a blow when Booker T. Washington used its power game and two fine running backs to defeat the Trojans 23-21 on Friday night.

&uot;We just didn't bow up in the second half,&uot; CHHS coach Hugh Fountain said after the game. &uot;It was disappointing because we just didn't play very well. Our kids knew what was at stake in terms of controlling our own destiny toward the playoffs. We just didn't get it done.&uot;

It was a disappointing defeat, two weeks after the Trojans routed Greenville for their first victory and one week after taking Class 6A power Enterprise to overtime before losing 14-7.

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If it ended badly, it didn't start that way. Charles Henderson scored touchdowns on its first two possessions. It was almost too easy, too early.

The Trojans (1-4) took the opening kickoff and went 65 yards in six plays. Jared Loftin completed a slant pass to Justin Green on third-and-4 at the BTW 40. Green split the safeties and scored on the play. Earlier in the drive, Loftin completed a 26-yard pass on third-and-12 at the 28 to Javoris Carter. Michael Partridge's extra point made it 7-0 with 9:11 left in the first quarter.

The Golden Eagles (2-4) struck back immediately on a bust in the Trojan secondary. Facing third-and-5 from his own 35, quarterback Nathan Sims rolled to his right and threw about a 20-yard pass to Kelvin Bronson. Bronson caught the ball between two Trojan defenders, but found himself behind everyone as they went for the interception. He outraced everyone to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown play. A bad snap on the extra point left the Trojans ahead 7-6 with 7:39 left in the first quarter.

Blake Sanders recovered a short squib kick on the Henderson 49 to start the Trojans' next possession. Two passes from Loftin to Phillip Flowers set up fourth-and-2 on the BTW 43. The Eagles jumped offsides, keeping the drive alive.

Loftin again connected with Green, who outjumped BTW's Jeremy Cloud for a 28-yard completion and a first-and-goal on the 3. Harrison Bryant scored for Charles Henderson the next play, making it 14-6 with 3:31 left in the first.

Flowers recovered a fumble by Marquez Hall at the CHHS 34 to give the Trojans an opportunity to break it seize control. Zaccheus Etheridge ran for 13 yards to the 48. He had another nice gain nullified by a holding penalty. The possession ended in a Russell Salmon punt that pinned the Eagles back to their 8-yard line.

But BTW went on a 12-play march that tied the game. The big play on the drive was a third-and-11 play from the 20. Sims rolled to one side, stopped and threw a screen pass back across the field to Craig Smith. Smith gained 19 yards and 15 more on a personal foul penalty against CHHS.

Hall later added a 15-yard run that moved it to the 19. An option keeper by Sims gained 5 yards, but another personal foul flag gave BTW first and goal at the 6. Sims ran the option to the right side on two straight plays and found the end zone from 2 yards out.

Brandon Perry ran in the two-point conversion that tied it with 5;45 left in the first half.

During that march, it was evident to BTW Mark Hurt, a Pike County High graduate, that the Eagles were establishing control of the line of scrimmage with a simple power game.

&uot;We lined up in a wishbone and ran power at them,&uot; Hurt said. &uot;When that worked, I was going to stay with it until they stopped it.&uot;

Henderson's next drive was thwarted with an offensive pass interference penalty. In punt formation on fourth down at the CHHS 43, the snap sailed over Salmon's head. He picked it up around the 15-yard line and, rather than turn it over right there, ran into the end zone for a safety and a 16-14 BTW with 3:01 left in the first half.

&uot;We've told him that if that happens, we'd rather give up two points than six,&uot; Fountain said.

It was exactly the kind of break Hurt said his team needed.

&uot;We've been in every game, but we hurt ourselves giving up big plays,&uot; the coach said. &uot;Tonight, we didn't give up the big plays when it counted. And we finally got some breaks. This team has worked very hard all year. We needed something good to happen and it did tonight.&uot;

Henderson stopped the Eagles on the next possession. A Loftin-to-Carter 22-yard completion moved the Trojans to the BTW 21-yard line with nine seconds left in the half. But a holding penalty followed and a pass into the end zone fell incomplete as the clock expired.

A Charles Henderson defensive penalty nullified an apparent Moses Griffin interception as BTW started the second half. Instead, the Eagles went 65 yards in 15 plays and almost six minutes, sticking primarily with power plays out of the wishbone.

Sims scored on a quarterback sneak over left guard on third-and-1. Tony Cole's PAT gave the Golden Eagles a 23-14 lead.

Henderson couldn't convert on fourth-and-1 from their own 48 on the next possession. However, BTW fumbled it back at midfield.

On first down, Carter turned a broken play into a big gainer, but the play was nullified on a penalty. Loftin got the Trojans close when he found Demonte King for 56 yards to the 10-yard line. The drive stalled, but BTW was called for defensive holding on a field goal attempt, handing the Trojans a first-and-goal on the 8. Etheridge scored from there on first down with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. Partridge added the PAT and it was 23-21 with an entire quarter to play.

But that power game took its toll on the Trojans, who had several players knocked out of the game with injuries and several others who played at less than full strength.

On BTW's next possession, Hall gained 26 yards for the Eagles - and Jhakendha Fayson's shoestring tackle kept him from going 75 yards for the touchdown. Henderson forced a punt and took over with 8:42 remaining in the game. It would be their last possession.

Loftin hit Carter for a 26-yard gain to the BTW 48. Courtney Cobb, running hard, gained 22 yards on the next two plays for a first down at the 26. Loftin ran for 9 yards, but the gain was nullified on a holding penalty that made it first-and-20 from the BTW 36. Loftin was sacked by Bronson for an 11-yard loss, then a delay of game penalty pushed the ball into Henderson territory. The Trojans punted and BTW took over with 4:13 left.

The Golden Eagles were able to run out the clock when their talented running backs made big plays on third down. First, Hall gained 24 yards on thrid-and-6 at his own 31. Next, Perry gained 9 yards on thrid-and-5 at the CHHS 40.

&uot;The game could've gone either way,&uot; Hurt said. &uot;Like I said, we finally got a break.&uot;