Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013












Three Charles Henderson players have title run experience

While Charles Henderson’s football program as whole, stands on the precipice of accomplishing something that hasn’t been done in over 30 years, a handful of Trojans are used to a deep playoff push.

Three players, quarterback Austin Ingram, wide receiver John Johnson and offensive lineman Xavius Burden, were members of Charles Henderson’s 2013 baseball state championship team.

The players know what it takes to hoist a blue map over their heads, and use knowledge gained during baseball season to the current football run.

“One thing I learned on the baseball field is to always keep your composure,” Johnson said. “You can never get too high up or too low down. There will always be an opportunity to make up for a bad play, or mess up after a good one. You must stay focused, but also relax and stay loose.”

Ingram played outfield for most of the championship baseball season, and said he learned quite a bit from head coach Derek Irons. He has used lessons from Irons on the gridiron each week of the football season. He also sees similarities between the two coaches.

“He always preached for us to get 1 percent better everyday,” Ingram said. “It is something that Coach Dean takes to another level. Neither of them let their players get satisfied, and they always strive to find one little advantage over the opponent.”

Dean agrees with his quarterback.

“We have some similar ways of doing things, as far as wanting our kids to get better all the time,” Dean said. “We want our kids to always get that 1 percent better, and have no regrets. It worked for his guys, and it is working for us now.”

All three players missed Charles Henderson’s spring scrimmage game against Smith’s Station to take part in the baseball playoffs.

Burden, starting center for the football team and relief pitcher/designated hitter for the baseball Trojans. He wants to add another ring to his right hand.

“Getting there in baseball and getting a taste of it makes me want another that much more,” said Burden. “I know we can do it again. We just have to play our game, limit our mistakes and take advantage of the mistakes from UMS.”

The Trojan baseball team met UMS-Wright in the semifinals of the playoffs, and eliminated the Bulldogs in two-game sweep.

In 2013 soccer playoffs, the Bulldogs knocked off the Trojans.

Johnson feels the two programs are developing a rivalry.

“We have met in baseball and now football,” said Johnson. “They are really good school and sports program. They are used to winning, and we are trying to change the culture here. We both have championship teams, so I think we are becoming rivals.”

Despite the differences in the two sports, Dean feels the big-game experience of the baseball players will be a benefit to their teammates.

“They have been to the top,” Dean said. “They have also put in the work in both sports to get to where they are. But anytime you can win a championship, it helps you prepare for another. They know what it takes, and that helps any team.”

Charles Henderson hosts UMS-Wright this Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.