CHHS goes to the air in rout of Central-Clay

Published 11:46 pm Friday, November 22, 2013













The Charles Henderson Trojans went to the air early and often, and found success more often than not, in a 34-7 win over Central-Clay County on a soggy Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Trojan quarterback Austin Ingram went 7 of 17 in the air, for 169 yards and three touchdowns to lead the aerial attack. Josh Noel was Ingram’s go-to target on the night reeling in 4 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

“We had a plan to throw it a little bit more, and it worked out,” said Ingram. “We work all year on timing and routes. The guys up front did a pretty good job to give me time, and we got the job done. We are 1-0 this week, which is the ultimate goal.”

Charles Henderson Mike Dean said Central’s defensive alignment made their offensive decisions for them.

“They loaded up the box with eight or nine guys at times,” Dean said. “They didn’t want us to run the football, but we were able to move the ball through the air and get them to back off. Being able to pass early, backed them off and allowed us to run the football late when we really needed to.”

Ingram found Noel for 65-yard scoring strike on the third play from scrimmage to get the lead early, but it was another reception later in the game that left fans speechless.

Following a blocked punt by the Trojan special teams unit, Charles Henderson set up shop at the 5-yard line. However after penalties and a sack, the Trojans found themselves facing fourth-and-goal from the 30 yard line.

Ingram dialed Noel’s number once again, and the senior wide receiver out-leaped two Central-Clay defensive backs at the goal line to bring in his second touchdown of the night.

Ingram knew the Trojans had an advantage at the skill positions.

“We knew the guys on the outside had an advantage,” said Ingram. “But that was a miracle play. Josh is a great receiver and knows how to go get the ball at its highest point. I put it up there and he did the rest. I sure am glad he is playing on my team.”

The Trojans 34 points are the most ever given up by Central-Clay, besting the previous of 33 by Madison Academy last season.

The Vols lights-out defense drew a lot of praise leading up the game, but it was the Charles Henderson defensive unit that shined. The Trojans held Central-Clay to just 146 yards of offense for the game.

The Trojans were burned once, on a 72-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, but adjusted from there to seal the win.

“They caught us in a zero, and found our little freshman corner, Gandy, and took advantage of it,” Dean said. “We made an adjustment after that and went man under with two safeties to stop that, and it worked. We did a great job defensively keeping their playmakers in containment. I’m proud of these kids tonight.”

Charles Henderson welcomes in the defending state champion UMS-Wright Bulldogs to Veterans Memorial Stadium next week in the semifinals.

The Trojans are ready to be home after back-to-back long road trips to the Piedmont region of east central Alabama.

“It is the semifinals on Thanksgiving week in your own backyard, “Dean said. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this for the city of Troy. We earned the right to be at home, and the whole place will be excited. We will enjoy this tonight, but we go back to work tomorrow.”

The win marks just the second quarterfinal victory in CHHS’ history.

The Trojans had been 1-2 in quarterfinal games, losing to St. Paul in 2007 and Dora in 2012.

The Trojans last won a quarterfinal game in 1980, when the won their only state title.