Another edition of the Pike County Classic took place Friday night and just like Pike County and Charles Henderson do every year, both teams turned the page the following Monday.
With only a handful of days separating both the Trojans and the Bulldogs from the start of the regular season, both got a chance to see the areas where improvement is needed thanks to Friday night’s scrimmage.
Coming off its third-straight win in the series, the Trojans hit the practice field looking to build off the momentum started by the 27-12 victory over its county rivals.
“We had a ton of mistakes,” head coach Hugh Fountain said. “But I really liked the effort our guys played with.
“We didn’t tackle as well I think we can and we didn’t play as strongly on offense, but we are working on those areas,” he added.
In the first two quarters, the PCHS defense only gave up 105 Trojan yards on offensive, while in the second half, CHHS was able to get 151 yards, thanks to three-straight possessions where it had the ball for six or more plays.
The Trojans’ second-drive of the third quarter was a 14-play, 62-yard drive that concluded when starting quarterback Corey Dennis jumped into the endzone.
A big part of the CHHS offense Friday night came on the ground, which was an area Fountain said his team played very well in.
“We told the guys going in, the game plan was going to be to run the ball a lot – which is what we did,” the coach said.
“And I thought our running backs did a great job of running north and south and pushing through the tackles.”
The three big runners for the Trojans were Dennis, who finished with 54 yards and a score, Ontonio Turner who ran for 99 yards on 13 carries and Quintus Moss who rushed for 69 yards on three carries with two touchdowns.
CHHS only threw five passes, four of which came off the arm of Dennis, while the other came from backup Joe Bradley.
“Obviously, we are going to have to throw the ball more if we want to win games (in the regular season),” Fountain said.
“But I think the key to us being successful this season will be our ability to run the ball. And we did a good job of that (Friday.)”
As the Bulldogs returned to the field Monday, head coach Robert Johnson said his team did a good job of putting Friday’s loss behind them.
“Everyone on the team is disappointed in the loss. No one wants to lose and we certainly did not prepare all week to lose, but there was a lot we were able to take out of the game,” the coach said.
“We studied film, found out what we did wrong and went to work on correcting them.
“I think we did a lot of good things (Friday night) but there were a lot of things that we needed to fix to get ready for Nostasulga this Friday,” Johnson added.
Some of the areas Johnson pointed out were the team’s play in the second half, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
“I thought our guys did a great job flying to the ball on defense. In the second half, I thought they started pushing us around a little bit more at the line.
“We didn’t really have an answer for them (in the second half) and that really hurt us,” he added.
Another key to the outcome was the turnover differential between the two schools.
PCHS had three turnovers, one interception that was returned for a touchdown and two fumble losses that halted key Bulldog drives in both halves of the game.
“We can’t turn the ball over like we did,” the coach said.
“Turnovers are a big part of the game.
“We worked on holding on to the football at lot (on Monday).”
Offensively, Johnson said he was pleased with how his two signal callers, Jerrelle Bailey and Marlon Meadows, played in their first game under the new offense.
The junior Meadows got he start, and finished 5-14 through the air for 60 yards and an interception and touchdown.
Bailey, a senior, was a triple threat for the Bulldogs, finishing 7-12 for 112 yards passing, 53 yards on 15 rushes and 40 yards receiving on three catches.
“I think both guys played good,” Johnson said. “Maybe better than I expected them to.
“There were a few times where they missed some receivers and there were a few times where they made great passes.”