Stuffed: Defense leads Trojans in win over Mustangs

Published 3:33 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

Photo/dan smith Chance Pollard (9), Paul Galie (22) and Jamal Smith (27) stuff Stanhope Elmore running back Karrem Jackson. inset: Quaterback D.Q. Toney finished the night 11-16 for 190 yards and a touchdown in Charles Henderson’s 21-14 win over the Mustangs on Friday night.

Photo/dan smith
Chance Pollard (9), Paul Galie (22) and Jamal Smith (27) stuff Stanhope Elmore running back Karrem Jackson. inset: Quaterback D.Q. Toney finished the night 11-16 for 190 yards and a touchdown in Charles Henderson’s 21-14 win over the Mustangs on Friday night.

MILLBROOK – A Gatorade bath is something that is always honored, something that should not be given out except for the most special of occasions, and if two men ever earned one, it was Charles Henderson High head football coach Brad McCoy and his Defensive Coordinator, Chuck Dunn.

When the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard of Stanhope Elmore’s Foshee Henderson Stadium reading that CHHS had beaten the Class 6A Mustangs 21-14 on the road – for Stanhope’s Homecoming no less – Dunn was drenched by a cooler of Gatorade, and while the Alma Mater of CHHS was played moments later by the Blue Machine band, McCoy got his shock of 5-gallons of ice-cold, lemon-lime, thirst-quenching jubilation.

It is true that it was Homecoming for the Mustangs, and that the head coach across the field was former CHHS head coach Mike Dean, but for the Trojans it was more about defeating a large Class 6A team with great tradition on the road, and putting together the best offensive and defensive game of the season for the 3-2 Trojans.

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“Last week we were disappointed and frustrated because of our lack of focus,” McCoy said, referring to a lack-luster win over Booker T. Washington. “Well, after the butt-chewings that night and every day thereafter, we reminded them of how good we could be. Each day of practice this past week was a difference of night and day, compared to a week ago. I hope this demonstrates to them just how well we can play in every phase of the game if their mind and heart are truly in what they are doing.”

The game got off to a good start for the Trojans when Stanhope received the opening kickoff and drove to the CHHS 8-yard line, but on fourth-and-two the defense stuffed running back Kareem Jackson and the Mustangs turned the ball over on downs. That defensive stop set the tone for the game.

CHHS then mounted a 92-yard, 14-play drive, with sophomore quarterback D.Q. Toney scampering in from nine yards out and the touchdown. Cameron Bush was again automatic on the extra point, and CHHS led 7-0 with 8:00 remaining in the first half.

The Trojan defense was aggressive on the next three series of the second quarter for Stanhope, and when a Mustang field goal attempt went wide right to end the first half, CHHS carried a 7-0 lead and the momentum into the locker room.

It only took five plays for the Trojans to score on their first possession of the second half, as Toney lofted a 14-yard TD strike to Bryson Gandy and Bush added the extra point for the 14-0 lead with 9:32 to go in the third.

Stanhope immediately answered with a 69-yard drive as Jackson bulled in from 11-yards out, and the extra point by Alex Cheesman was good to cut the lead to 14-7 at the 6:15 mark in the third quarter.

Each team then swapped possessions, and when Stanhope punted to end their series CHHS return man Gandy returned the punt from the 50-yard line to the Mustangs’ 17. On the first play from scrimmage Jabronski Williams took it in for the touchdown and Bush put CHHS ahead 21-7 with his kick and 1:50 to go in the third period.

The Mustangs were not through, as senior quarterback Tripper Warlick ran it in from 4-yards out to cut the lead to 21-14 with 5:21 to go in the game.

CHHS was unable to move the ball on their next possession, but sophomore punter Brock Huner launched a 62-yard punt that put the Mustangs deep at their own 21.

On fourth-and-14 Warlick was intercepted by CHHS junior linebacker Jamal Smith, and the Trojans ran out the clock for the 21-14 victory.

Toney provided his best night at quarterback for the Trojans, hitting 11-of-16 passes for 190 yards and one TD while running for another.

CHHS was led in rushing by Williams with 64 yards on 11 carries and one TD, while Jackson was the leading rusher for Stanhope with 69 yards on 21 carries, and Mustang quarterback Warlick was 12-of-26 for 141 yards.

For the Trojans, it was a great balance of the offense moving the ball and the defensive rising to the occasion.

“Hands down, my hat is off to the defense,” said McCoy. “Coach Dunn and the defensive staff, they work tireless hours. They’ve been criticized, they’ve been talked down to, they’ve been doubted, and they have heard that. They listened to it, and I think it lit a fire under every one of them as well as the whole staff to improve in the kicking game, defense and of course offense.”

Dunn was especially pleased with the overall effort of his defensive unit.

“We needed to have this game, and we have been preaching every week about playing our best game,” said Dunn. “Tonight we played with more passion, we played with more energy, and we played together more and we were better tacklers. Every other game we have not tackled great and we have not played with the passion, but tonight we did, and that’s what great defenses do. This by far was our best performance, and we have the ability to be an outstanding defense. We have the players to do it and we showed it. It was everybody, especially our coaches, they all did a great job coaching tonight and I could not be more proud of them. If we can build off of this we have the potential for this defense to be as good as they want to be. The key is playing with passion on every play, and that is something we have not always done, but were able to tonight. I think that was the difference for us.”

The Trojans are at home this Friday night against Class 4A Trinity.