Trojans aim to knock off No. 8 Saints on road

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There was no better way for the Charles Henderson Trojans to end the regular season than how it did last week against Enterprise, and now, the team will hope to keep the good times rolling.

It took three overtimes and 2-pt conversion stop, but it was enough for the Trojans to claim a 41-40 win over the rival Wildcats and in the process secure a 6-4 regular season.

Those six wins were the most since 2008, the last time CHHS advanced to the postseason, and just like that season, the Trojans will be playing on the first Friday night of November this season.

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There is just one catch however, the team the Trojans are opening up against are currently ranked No. 5 in Class 5A and riding a six-game winning streak.

Only once did the St. Paul’s Saints lose during the 2010 season, back in the fourth week of the season to LeFlore.

Since that loss, the Saints have been unbeatable, finishing with a 9-1 overall record and a 5-1 region record, which was good enough for the program to claim its seventh region title, and first since 1999.

Now, CHHS has the daunting task of putting a stop to an offense that has outscored its opponents 390-195 this season.

“The guys have had good, crisp practices this week,” Fountain said.

“They are really focused in on this game. We are playing a very good team and that is indicative by their stats and the caliber players they have. There is no question about; they are a talented team, especially when a team goes 9-1 in that region.”

While the Saints’ quarterback, A.J. McCarron, may be committed to Florida State, Fountain said the passing game is not the only aspect of the St. Paul’s offense that will hurt defenses.

“They can run the ball with the very best of them,” he said.

“They are a very explosive team offensively.

“You definitely cannot get into a scoring match with them, you really have to control the tempo of the game. And I think defensively, we have been playing better the past couple of weeks – we are improving a lot. But for this game, if we want to be successful, we are going to have to play well in all three phases of the game (defense, offense and kicking),” Fountain added.

Like the Trojans, this will be the Saints’ 16th showing in the playoffs, where it is 11-5 in first round action.

CHHS is 7-8 in its first 15 first round playoff games.

The only other time both CHHS and St. Paul’s have met on the gridiron took place in the playoffs, with both ending the same way – the Trojans being shown the exit door.

In 2002, the Saints ousted the Trojans in the first round with a 40-0 win at home and when the two teams met in Troy in 2007, St. Paul’s again beat CHHS by double-digits, 49-11.

While the game may be in the past, Fountain said he believes the win over Enterprise might be one that helps put his team over the top for the playoffs thanks to the opportunity it presented his team.

“That was a big win for us simply because we didn’t have a lot of life in that game with two minutes to go,” he said.

“We were able to get a fumble and create something out of it and that helped us to a win. That change in momentum did everything for us.

“When you play a game against a quality opponent like St. Paul’s, it’s a beautiful opportunity for our program to really impress. But we wouldn’t have this opportunity unless we put ourselves in this position. I’m proud of what our guys have been able to do this season, but now it is time to see how we stack up against one of the best.”

While this may be the biggest week of preparation for the Trojans, the head coach said his group has been focused on the task at hand and is ready to go.

“They realize, it’s now win or go home.

“We have been playing for this moment though all season long though. We aren’t going to change up anything that we have done all season long. We are going to try to control the clock and play our game. We are going to go in with what we got and find out what works.