Sealing the deal: Charles Henderson goes 10-0 in regular season
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2007
With the score knotted at 21 and time running out, the Trojans needed another miracle finish to preserve a perfect 10-0 regular season.
That miracle came when sophomore defensive end Jawara White stepped in front of a Steele Schwenkle pass and booked 59 yards to seal an improbable 28-21 win against 6A power Stanhope Elmore.
“What can you say about these kids?” Said Troy coach Hugh Fountain. “All year long they have refused to lose. They have done everything we've asked them to do.”
And that resulted in the first 10-0 regular season in school history. The 1979-80 team that won a state championship only went 9-0 in the regular season.
“Could you ask for anything better?” Said quarterback Brent Poole.
The short answer? No. Eighth-ranked Charles Henderson did what it had done all season - with their backs against the wall, they came out swinging, connecting with White's knockout punch of an interception.
The Trojans jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead when Poole found White on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 9:20 left in the first quarter to cap a seven-play drive that saw the senior hit Sam Jones and Svante Davenport on gains of 23 and 30 yards, respectively.
The 7-0 score held until late in the third quarter when A.G. Wilson scored with 4:37 left in the quarter.
With the score tied, the Mustangs forced the Trojans to punt, and DeMarcus Milliner put the Mustangs in the lead by splitting about eight defenders and sprinting for a 64-yard touchdown return.
Terrence Jackson answered for the Trojans, scoring from four yards out to tie the game at 14 with 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
That's when things got interesting.
Davenport snagged a quick slant pass, then shook a defender to break an 85-yard touchdown. With Dustin Smith's extra point, the Trojans led 21-14.
Schwenkle then found Mardavian Martin with a 64-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21 with 2:50 left in the game.
The Trojans couldn't move the ball offensively, failing on a fourth-down attempt with 1:03 left in the game. The Mustangs took over at the Troy 48, and didn't wait for overtime. Stanhope came out passing, and White jumped the route to seal the deal for the Trojans.
It was indicative of what Charles Henderson has done all season, and of the team's attitude from the beginning.
“We have talked about finishing all season,” senior offensive lineman Chris Wood said. “We did it.”
Indeed. The offensive line had its toughest test of the season, giving up two sacks against the Mustangs - matching their total of sacks allowed for the rest of the season. For them, finishing is a mark of pride.
Now the Trojans take their 10-0 record into the playoffs, where they will host No. 4 seed Parker in the first round
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.