Lessons learned

Published 5:45 pm Monday, August 24, 2009

Following Charles Henderson’s 38-0 win over rival Pike County Saturday night, both teams have room for improvement heading into the first week of the regular season.

“We’ve got some offensive line things that we’ve got to get straight up front,” said PCHS head coach Eddie Stephenson. “We’ve done some things in practice, but then we get out here in the game and we couldn’t block their front.”

However, Stephenson also said part of his team’s problems with the Trojan defensive front may have been the result of the talent that Charles Henderson has.

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“It was the same front we knew they were going to use,” Stephenson said. “They’ve got some good players. I’m not sure we could block it if we wanted to. The biggest thing we’ve got to get done is improving our fundamentals.”

Despite the impressive win, Charles Henderson head coach Hugh Fountain said the Trojans also need to work hard in practice this week.

“There’s going to be plenty of areas for improvement,” Fountain said. “We made some mistakes in the kicking game and we also need to play better as a team.”

CHHS will be tested immediately, as it opens the regular season with two straight games against teams that received votes in the ASWA preseason poll.

“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of tough teams ahead of us, but beating your rivals in a preseason game is a good way for us to start,” Fountain said.

Greenville will be the first such test for the Trojans, and will be solid on both lines

‘We’ve got a lot to do because Greenville is going to be really, really good up front, especially defensively,” Fountain said. “They’re big on both sides of the ball.”

Fountain said the team had prepared in the preseason for both Pike County and Greenville despite expecting two completely different teams.

“We knew Pike County was going to show us a lot of speed and a couple of big guys, but we feel like at the Greenville game it’s going to be their size and their skill people,” Fountain said. “Their skill people are like our skill people. They match up with us a little better.”

While there are areas that Fountain wants his team to work on, there were also aspects of its performance against Pike County that he was pleased with.

“I was really proud of our offense in the first half because our offensive line is so young,” said CHHS head coach Hugh Fountain. “They came out and got after it and threw their body around. I was a little disappointed at halftime because some of them were getting off the line slow, but they were throwing their weight around. They were wearing them out, and I knew they were going to be tired in the second half.”

The Trojans were able to be balanced on offense, running for 183 yards and throwing for 117.

“We just got the ball distributed to the playmakers,” Fountain said. “Both of our running backs played well. We threw the ball well. We ran and threw the ball and were balanced on offense, and I was very pleasantly surprised that we were able to do that.”

The play of quarterback K.D. Edenfield was also a bright spot. Edenfield accounted for four touchdowns in the first half, throwing for two and running for two. He finished the game going 9-12 through the air with 117 yards. He also ran 10 times for 42 yards.

“He’s a balanced player,” Fountain said. “We’re fortunate to have a kid like him because he knows how to run the offense. He’s a good player. What can be said? He’s accurate throwing the ball and he’s good running the ball. He just did a good job for us tonight. He showed up and played well, like you expect him to do as a senior.”

The Trojan defense was also strong, holding Pike County to just 127 yards of total offense.

“Our defense got after it,” Fountain said. “They ran to the ball well, and we came up with some big plays. We told them coming into the game that if we didn’t turn the ball over, we would win the game.”

Part of that strong performance my have been a lack of execution on the part of Pike County. The game Saturday was the live-action debut of Stephenson’s hybrid wing-T offense at Pike County.

“It’s a preseason jamboree,” Stephenson said. “This is our first competition against anybody with a new system. We saw a lot of mistakes we made, but Charles Henderson did a good job. They were prepared. They’re a better football team than we are at this time.”

Stephenson also said a large part of his team’s ineffectiveness was due to the talented Trojan squad that it lined up against.

“A lot of our problems probably had something to do with them, but we’ve got some things that we’ve got to fix in order to be a good football team,” Stephenson said. “But, it’s preseason. We’re not worried about it.”

The road for the Bulldogs doesn’t get easier from here, as they open the season with another 5A school in Carroll.

Stephenson and the Bulldogs must now put the rivalry game loss behind them and focus on getting better, something Stephenson said will start with conditioning.

“It looked like we cramped up a lot of the time,” Stephenson said. “That’s something we can fix as coaches. We need to do a lot more conditioning, and we will. We’ve done a bunch already, but it looks like it’s not enough for this group. That’s what preseason games are for.”

The coaches will also reevaluate the players this week to ensure that they are playing in the positions they are best suited for.

“You try to figure out who you are, who you can count on and how they fit in your schemes,” Stephenson said. “We don’t even know if some of these players will be in the same position come this time next week, so it was good for us. I’d like to have won it, but in the same manner, all of this is going to be positive for us because we can take the mistakes, fix them, find the personnel we want and go from there.”

Pike County will open regular season play Friday night at 7 p.m. against Carroll at Bulldog Stadium, while Charles Henderson will hit the road for a key match up with Greenville.