HIGH NOTE: The Charles Henderson Trojans closed out the regular season with a 35-31 win over Northview

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, October 29, 2015

Photo/Dan smith Jalante Smith runs the ball for the Charles Henderson Trojans in the season finale Thursday night against Northview in Dothan. The Trojans defeated the Cougars 35-31.

Photo/Dan smith
Jalante Smith runs the ball for the Charles Henderson Trojans in the season finale Thursday night against Northview in Dothan. The Trojans defeated the Cougars 35-31.

DOTHAN- In a game that stood as an example of how much progress a Charles Henderson High football team has made since the early setbacks of the season, a swarming Trojan defense held off a late Northview Cougar drive to claim a thrilling 35-31 come-from-behind victory Thursday night in Dothan’s Rip Hewes Stadium.

CHHS, ending the regular season at 5-5 and poised to travel to Demopolis next Friday for the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs, trailed early against Northview 14-0 and late in the fourth quarter 31-28 before sophomore quarterback Noah Lowery hit a streaking Nick Lewis across the middle for a go-ahead touchdown and the 35-31 lead.

Northview quarterback Tyler Marshall then moved the Cougars the length of the field to the CHHS 14-yard line with 0:35 to play in the game, before Trojan defensive back Keem Walker picked off a fourth-down pass to seal the win.

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“It really was our greatest win of the year,” said a proud CHHS Head Coach Brad McCoy. “And the thing was, we had to go back and forth so many times to win it. We had to come from behind, we had to hold a lead, we lost the lead then had to come back from behind again. And that’s just a testament tothese young men. They are growing up.

“More of them than not are coming back, and not just for one year, but for two or three years. When I talk about there are better days ahead, we’ve got them. Our kids and coaches believe in this, and we know we’ve got something special. My hat is off to our players, our coaches, our administration, the community, everyone that helps us each and every day. If we did not have all that, this would not be possible. I’m proud of the kids.”

After starting the season off 2-5, the Trojans are now 5-5 and winners of their last three in a row.

Lowery, a sophomore quarterback, was hoarse but proud of his teammates and their performance following the win, especially the effort of Lewis to get open for the go-ahead TD.

“My receiver just worked to get open, and I’ve got to give him all the credit to be a playmaker,” said Lowery. “The coaches told me to get the playmakers the ball, and that was what I was trying to do.

“We have really come together. Our seniors have stepped up, and we have a lot of leaders, and hats off to our coaches, they work their butts off every day. The leadership of our team is really where it is at.”

Class 6A Northview got on the board quickly in the first quarter, as Marshall – a senior who has already committed to Alabama-Birmingham – hit Ross Jones for a 53-yard touchdown and on their second possession connected with Terrell Harris for a 29-yard TD pass play, and a 14-0 Cougar lead.

Lowery got the Trojans on the board in the early minutes of the second quarter when he found D.Q. Toney for a 21-yard touchdown reception, and the extra point by Baylor Barnes was good making the score 14-7 Northview.

Coby Neenam of Northview drilled a 40-yard field goal with just over 4 minutes remaining in the first half for a 17-7 lead, before CHHS struck again.

Jalante Smith scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night with a 15-yard carry, and the score was 17-14.

On the next offensive play for Northview, sophomore defensive back Chance Pollard picked off a Marshall pass, and two plays later Smith ran it in from 16 yards out and the Trojans were up 21-17.

To everyone’s surprise Barnes punched an onside kick, which the Trojans recovered at the Northview 35, and 1 minute later Smith scored his third TD within a 2-minute span on a 2-yard carry, and CHHS led 28-17 at the half.

Northview, now 4-6, cut the lead to 28-24 in the final minute of the third quarter on a 76-yard TD pass play to Terrell Harris, and the Cougars went up 31-28 with 8:13 to play in the game when Nicholas McCarthy took it in from 1-yard out.

The Trojans staged their come-from-behind drive with 5:24 to play in the game, with a crucial play being an 11-yard run by Lowery to the Northview 46 on third-and-six, giving the Trojans a key first down.

Facing second and 11 at the Northview 33 with 2:36 to play, Lowery found Lewis streaking across the middle, hit the speedy receiver who went in for the touchdown. Barnes’ PAT was good for the 35-31 lead.

Marshall then conducted the drive to the CHHS 14, but a sack by Omari Vaughans and the relentless defense forced the interception by Walker to seal the win.

Jalante Smith ended the evening with 153 yards rushing and three TD’s for CHHS, while Lowery passed for 104 yards and one TD.

CHHS travels to Demopolis next Friday for the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.