COMPETITIVE: Charles Henderson Trojans played determined football Thursday, fell to Sidney Lanier 20-14

Published 10:54 pm Thursday, October 1, 2015

Photo/Dan Smith Jalante Smith of CHHS powers past defenders during the CHHS game against Sidney Lanier on Thursday.

Photo/Dan Smith
Jalante Smith of CHHS powers past defenders during the CHHS game against Sidney Lanier on Thursday.

MONTGOMERY, AL – One of the better efforts and performances of a Charles Henderson High football team this season came up short Thursday night as the Sidney Lanier Poets held on for a 20-14 win in an important Class 5A, Region 2 win in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.

The Trojans led most of the game until two big plays allowed the Poets to tie the game in the fourth quarter and take the lead for good on a 13-yard TD pass play, a scoring opportunity set up by a 52-yard reverse.

CHHS threatened to score the game-tying touchdown in the last minutes of the game, but an interception by Poet cornerback Glen Adams sealed the game for Sidney Lanier.

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Although CHHS fell to 2-4 and 1-2 in the Class 5A, Area 2 Region standings, Head Coach Brad McCoy felt the team improved greatly from previous weeks.

“Overall it was a great ballgame,” McCoy said. “Our kids played their hearts out, and it hurts. It hurts the coaches and it hurts the players, because they wanted to win this ballgame, just like they want to win every one of them, but they knew they had to lay it on the line to have a shot. But we also had to eliminate mistakes, and we are still just trying to overcome that.”

The Trojans took a 7-0 lead with 3:16 to go in the first quarter when Bryson Gandy capped a 70-yard drive with an 8-yard carry, and the extra point by Baylor Barnes was good. Gandy ran the ball six times in that nine-play drive.

Lanier cut the lead to 7-6 on their opening possession of the third quarter on a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback James Foster to receiver Quintavieus Hutchinson, but the extra point was blocked, and that was the score at halftime.

CHHS went up 14-6 in the third quarter when Gandy took the ball in from one yard out, and Barnes added the PAT with 2:04 to play in the third quarter.

The Poets stormed back in the fourth quarter, moving 81 yards on their next possession which included a 43-yard running play by Alfred Thomas, a 27-yard TD pass play by Foster to Decoreyon Johnson, and a two-point conversion carry by Devonte Thomas to knot the score at 14-14.

Lanier scored the go-ahead touchdown on their next possession on a 13-yard pass again from Foster to Hutchinson, and when the extra point failed the score stood 20-14 with 8:49 remaining in the game.

CHHS staged a determined effort on their final drive of the game, but a fourth down pass play was intercepted at the goal line to preserve the Lanier win.

Despite the loss, Coach McCoy saw much better play Thursday than in previous weeks.

“I thought there were a lot of positives,” McCoy said. “We did not have as many turnovers, we ran the ball well, we completed pass and we tackled much better. Once we get to look at the video we are going to take all the positives and push forward into the Eufaula game this week which is going to be even bigger. Every week from this point forward is going to be important for us to have a chance to get into the playoffs.

“It’s not over. We’ve still got a lot of football left. The next three weeks are going to be huge, and we’ve got to prepare for them. We’ve just got to fix the mistakes and keep pushing forward. We’ve got to keep the kids’ minds on trying to continue to improve, and don’t believe for one second we are out of it. We’ve got a lot of football left and we’ve got to keep our heads up and keep our confidence level high.”

CHHS was led by Gandy with 63 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Thomas had 57 yards rushing for the Poets. Foster was also 6-of-12 for 81 yards and three TD passes in the second half.

Greenville and Eufaula are both unbeaten in Class 5A, Region 2 play, and the other teams in the region will battle for the third and fourth place positions to qualify for the playoffs.