Trojans clinch No. 2 playoff seed
It was a misty, drizzly night for one half of play when the Charles Henderson Trojans faced the Eufaula Tigers Friday night. The crowd in attendance was somewhat subdued watching a 3-0 battle between the two teams.
K.D. Edenfield changed the stadium’s atmosphere in the second half, and the orange and blue faithful were making all of the noise. Edenfield nabbed two second-half interceptions from the Tigers offense that virtually sealed Eufaula’s fate, and the Trojans went on to a 10-0 victory.
“It’s going to be nice being at home for a while,” Trojans head coach Hugh Fountain said.
The Trojans (6-3, 5-2 AHSAA Class 5A, Region 2) will play at home for at least the next two weeks because the win over Eufaula earned them the No. 2 seed in the region.
The Trojans won a game dominated by rushing attacks, and the post-game hysteria was a sight to see. The win made the Trojans’ dreams come true.
“Tonight our boys knew we had to win or go home,” Fountain said. “We’ve beaten them two years in a row now and that means a lot. They are a real classy program, and we’re real excited about that accomplishment.”
The Tigers (5-4, 4-3) opened the game with the ball and the Trojans defense stepped up early, forcing a punt.
Punt was a key word in the first half.
Both teams traded punts on their first two possessions until the Trojans’ Darius McClain knocked the ball out of Tiger quarterback Demonte Jett’s hands as he set up to throw. The Trojans recovered the fumble and they were set up inside the Tigers 30-yard line.
“We knew going into this game that either us or Eufaula would have turnovers tonight just based on the history of the season,” Fountain said. “They (Eufaula) have been plagued by turnovers all year, us too. We just told ourselves that we didn’t need to turn the ball over.”
The Trojans couldn’t get anything going offensively after the turnover, and turned the ball over on downs back to the Tigers.
The punt plague struck again against Eufaula and the Trojans got another possession in the run-dominated first half.
This possession would be one of the main differences in the ball game as the Trojans drove the ball 67-yards before the drive stalled.
Dustin Smith came on to put the Trojans ahead 3-0 and Henderson never looked back.
“We have an excellent kicker,” Fountain said.
Fountain also said Smith’s punts in the game played heavily into deciding where Eufaula’s drives would start.
The teams traded possessions in the third quarter and the first play of the fourth quarter was Edenfield’s first interception of the night.
Three plays later, the Trojans hit another first on the night when Lequintez Reynolds trounced into the end zone from six yards out for the only touchdown in the game. Smith put the Trojans up 10-0 with 8:19 left to play with a true PAT.
Edenfield snagged his second interception of the night on the next drive and raced off the field with excitement.
The Tigers turned the ball over on downs and the Trojans ran out the remaining fourth quarter clock to seal the victory and knock Eufaula to the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
“We were determined to run north and south in this game tonight,” Fountain said.
Reynolds led the rushing attack and the Trojans accomplished that mission. Reynolds ran north and south for 89 yards and the game’s only touchdown.
Edenfield rushed for 58 yards, but a Eufaula sack negated 10 of those and left him with a total of 48.
Corey Dennis rushed for 41 yards on two carries. One of the two carries went for 40 yards.
“I thought this would be a low scoring game tonight,” Fountain said. “Looking back now, our win against Tallassee was a big win, and we knew it would carry us through the season.”
The Trojans win against Eufaula actually earned them second place in the region, but the Tallassee win did prove to be the difference in the season.
Tallassee lost to Valley Friday night, giving Valley the region crown. The Trojans win tied them with Tallassee for second and Henderson took the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Charles Henderson will face finish off the regular season with Class 6A Northview next Friday night at home. The playoffs begin Nov. 7 and the Trojans will host Region 1 No. 3 seed Citronelle at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.