Emotions fly high in CHHS win (with PHOTO GALLERY)
Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 3, 2014
By Dan Smith
In a stadium awash in orange and overflowing with emotion, the Trojans of Charles Henderson High School took advantage of a swarming defense to walk out of Veterans Memorial Stadium Friday evening with a 19-0 win over Sidney Lanier of Montgomery in a game that had to be next to impossible for the young men of CHHS to maintain their focus.
On the same field one week earlier, teammate Demario Harris was taken by ambulance to a Troy hospital and then later to Dothan, where he passed away on Sunday.
Signs and banners draped from stadium railings expressed the support of the community from local schools Goshen High, Pike Liberal Arts and Pike County High as well as other out-of-county schools, as everyone came together in support of the Harris family, the students, faculty and staff of CHHS.
For Head Coach Brad McCoy, he could not have been any more proud of his young men, not because they won the game, but because they showed exceptional character and resolve in difficult circumstances.
“I tell you, this performance right here – anytime you can get away with a win – especially a shut-out and a win, with what all has transpired over the last seven days, we and our coaching staff are extremely pleased,” said Coach McCoy. “We are producing young men, we are developing young men, and they are not going to be perfect just like we are not, but every week we see a little bit better come out of them, and my hat is off to them. They just handled themselves really good this week and I am very impressed with them.”
Local parents and boosters immediately went to work earlier this week in support of the Harris family and the CHHS student body, and orange t-shirts were offered to honor the fallen student, with the “#flyhigh10” hashtag on the front and Harris nickname, “Squirrel,” on the back with the number 10.
Over 3,000 shirts were sold and it is safe to say the majority of those in attendance on the West side of Veterans Memorial Stadium were wearing them Friday evening.
Each team exchanged punts to open the game, and on the first play of their next possession senior quarterback Austin Ingram got the Trojans on the board when he hit junior receiver Jalante Smith for a 59-yard touchdown pass, and Ben Salmon’s extra point put CHHS up 7-0 with 8:18 remaining in the first quarter.
The Trojans added a touchdown in the final minute of the first quarter when junior defensive back Omari Vaughans intercepted a Sidney Lanier pass and gave CHHS the ball at the Poets’ 46 yard line. Ten plays later Salmon drilled a 27-yard field goal, for the 10-0 lead.
Each team fought for field position in the second quarter, with Lanier getting as deep as the CHHS 26, but the defense held and Lanier turned the ball over on downs.
Both teams went into the locker room at halftime with the score 10-0 CHHS, symbolic of the No. 10 of fallen teammate Demario Harris, the number every Trojan and every high school football player from Goshen to Brundidge to Pike Liberal Arts wore on their helmet Friday night.
CHHS punted the ball on their first possession of the third quarter, and Lanier took over at their own 5. Two plays later defensive lineman Lorenzo Pennington sacked Poet quarterback Joshua Terrell in his own end zone for the safety, and the Trojans led 12-0 with 6:17 to go in the third.
Lanier moved the ball to the CHHS 33 in a strong drive, but the Trojans recovered a fumble to put an end to any scoring opportunity.
The Trojans opened the fourth quarter with a seven play scoring drive, as freshman running back Jared Wilson carried the ball hard on three plays including a spinning, tackle-breaking 25-yard touchdown carry, and Salmon’s extra point was good for the 19-0 lead with 10:36 to play in the game.
Lanier answered with a drive to the CHHS 17, but moved backwards from there and again turned the ball over on downs as the defense pressured the quarterback into incomplete passes on four consecutive downs.
CHHS did not allow Lanier to get in the red zone again in the fourth quarter, and held on for the 19-0 win. The victory moves CHHS to 4-2 on the season while Sidney Lanier slips to 1-6.
Mondaris Dixon led the Trojans in rushing with 116 yards on 20 carries, while Wilson picked up 63 yards on nine attempts.
Austin Ingram was 12 of 24 in passing for 145 yards and one TD, while Smith had 93 yards in receptions and the touchdown catch.
The Trojans have a short work week, as they play Eufaula this upcoming Thursday night in Eufaula.
“We’ve got extra work to do on Sunday afternoon, on the road, biggest game of the year,” said Coach McCoy. “It’s an abbreviated week, and we’ve got to get to work.”