Trojans return home looking to capture region title

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

Charles Henderson is smack dab in the middle of run games against weaker opponents. Trojan head coach Mike Dean knows it; the assistants know it, and the players do as well.

However, fans should not expect to see any difference in game planning, strategy or intensity from Charles Henderson against Ashford Friday night.

Dean said the Trojans treat every opponent with respect, regardless of the record attached to their name.

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“We respect everyone we play, but at the same time we don’t fear anyone,” said Dean. “Our kids know that we have the target on us, and we’ll get everyone’s best shot from here out. We have to keep getting better every day, and learning from our mistakes.”

The football Trojans are taking a page from the 2013 Charles Henderson baseball team. The baseball team captured the state championship in May, and lived by the motto of “Get one percent better every day.”

“You saw Coach Irons preach the one percent improvement, and saw the results it brought,” Dean said. “Yes, we want to win, but we need to look at how we are winning. Are we getting better in the process? Are we making mistakes? How can we improve and keep building? These are things that you have to look for. The film doesn’t lie, and I have to find things for our kids to build on.”

The playoff teams in 4A Region 2 are set, and barring a monumental upset, Charles Henderson will be the region champion. Beauregard and Tallassee meet one another in week nine to settle the second and third seeds. The winner will be No. 2, and get a first-round home game. The loser will be on the road in the first week of the playoffs.

Ashford will likely finish fourth in the region, but Dean knows his Trojans will get stiff competition from Mitch Sellers’ team.

“They want to get a win to get themselves some momentum for the playoffs,” Dean said. “They are a lot better than their record shows, and have some really good skill players. We have to do the same thing we have done the last few weeks. We need to come out strong, get the ball game over in the first half and not let those talented players hang around with us.”

Charles Henderson wide receiver John Johnson said the Trojans can’t overlook any team on their schedule.

“The next couple of weeks for us will be big,” said Johnson. “We have to get a little more unity, and continue to get better. We have to limit our mistakes, because simple mistakes can get you beat in the playoffs. Any team can beat anyone, and we know that.”

Charles Henderson and Ashford have met 13 times previously, with the Trojans holding a commanding 10-3 lead in the all-time series.

Ashford won three straight in the series from 1976-1978, but are winless since. Charles Henderson won last season’s contest convincingly, 49-6.

Friday’s game will be a ‘pink out’ to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Larry Blakeney Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.