Trojans begin playoffs

Published 3:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

The second season for the Charles Henderson Trojans begins today as they face the Demopolis Tigers in the first round of the Class 5A state football playoffs.

The game, which was originally scheduled for Friday night, was pushed up to today due to the threat of inclement weather in the area.

“The good thing is that we have had three Thursday night games,” said Trojan head coach Brad McCoy, “with all three of them coming on the road. That part should not affect us.”

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The Trojans also should be used to the long bus ride as well, having already traveled to Mobile earlier in the season.

“It was a long road trip,” McCoy said. “We have already done that before. A lot of these details that this trip is going to present, we have already seen. Hopefully that will lend itself to us having a solid drive down there.”

Even though the game got rescheduled just days before kickoff, the Trojans are ready.

“By the time Tuesday ends we have already had five practices,” McCoy said. “We have practiced pretty much a full week. Wednesday and Thursday is more mental than physical. To be honest, it has not fazed us at all.”

The Trojans enter the first round of the playoffs having been in do-or-die mode for the last month. The Trojans were forced with having to win their final two region games to be guaranteed a playoff spot.

The Trojans handled both games with ease, defeating Rehobeth 41-18 and Booker T. Washington 64-26 and they hope that momentum comes with them on the trip to Demopolis.

“I don’t think there is any difference in how we approach the game,” McCoy said. “Those were all pretty much do-or-die games, where we had to win. This week we understand if we don’t win our season is over. This is our third week having to play that way. It comes down to us getting in the routine that we are used to, and we just have to play ball and make plays.”

Demopolis (8-2, 7-0) enters the playoffs as the Class 5A Region 4 champions and did it with relative ease. Demopolis has scored 37 points per game this season and their two losses came outside the region when they lost to Jackson and 7A powerhouse Auburn.

Jayjerein Craig, who has blistered defenses this year with his heavy running style, leads the Tigers. The Trojans have emphasized the importance of tackling this week during practice.

“Tackle, tackle, tackle,” McCoy said. “We had a lot of missed tackles against Northview. Number six (Craig) for Demopolis is a big time running back. He runs low and hard, and he is going to be our biggest challenge.”

The coaching staff is also working to impress upon the younger players the importance and privilege of post-season play.

“They can’t take it for granted,” McCoy said. “Half of the schools in Alabama are not in the position that we are in. I did tell them with our past history in the playoffs that you have to prepare from the standpoint that you really can’t waste a day. We understand there is no tomorrow, and we can’t afford to have a bad day or a bad practice.”

One of those younger players is starting quarterback Noah Lowery. He began the season as the backup but earned the starting job early on. “We have won the last three ballgames,” McCoy said. “He played a good football game against a good 6A Northview team. My message to Noah is don’t do anything different; do what you have been doing.”

The winner of this game will move on to play the winner of the Vigor Clay Central game. Kick off between the Tigers and Trojans is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium in Demopolis.