Back on track: two-game winning streak ups Trojans’ playoff chances

Published 6:39 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Following Charles Henderson’s 42-17 loss to Greenville at the beginning of the month, the chances of the Trojans making the playoffs seemed slim. After a two-game winning streak against two top-10 teams, the Trojans find themselves squarely in the mix.

The Trojans began the season 1-4 and 1-2 in region play. Things began to turn around with a 17-7 win over No. 7 Carroll and then last week they knocked off No. 10 Tallassee 34-28 in overtime.

“It’s a lot better than what we started out the season with,” said head coach Brad McCoy. “The last two weeks have certainly been better at practice. The players, I think are starting to gain some much-needed confidence.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Trojans found themselves down early in their game against Tallassee before fighting their way back to force overtime.

“It really showed their resolve and their resilience that I’m not even sure that I thought they would have,” McCoy said. “I think the win over Carroll gave them a spark of confidence and it showed on Friday night. We were able to battle back and win that ball game.”

Coaches love to be playing their best football at or near the end of the season and it appears that Charles Henderson is doing just that. In Charles Henderson’s last loss to Greenville, McCoy decided to make a change at quarterback and bring in Pooka Jones, moving previous quarterback DQ Toney to wide receiver. Since then, the Trojans are 2-0 and McCoy said the switch started his team’s string of success.

“Some of it had to do with the quarterback change,” McCoy said. “The first game he started was at Greenville and, of course, he took one on the chin that night. He is a determined young man and he really wanted the job of starting quarterback. I think each and every week his play and demeanor running the offense has certainly helped everybody else.”

The change at quarterback has had a domino effect in the last two weeks. Toney has moved out receiver, a position that McCoy believes is more comfortable to Toney.

“DQ certainly feels more comfortable at wide receiver,” McCoy said. “I think that shows with his playmaking ability.”

The Patriots have also gotten healthy in the last couple weeks. Elijah Caldwell is back from an injury and got into the game last week, as did Chance Pollard.

Sean McKinney, who has been steady for the Trojans, had three touchdowns in Charles Henderson’s win over Tallassee.

“Sean McKinney is a guy not too many people are talking about,” McCoy said. “He had three touchdowns the other night. Sean has been that steady offensive playmaker for us.”

The Trojans find themselves in a three-way-tie for second in Region 2 alongside Tallassee and Beauregard. There are many different scenarios that well determine Charles Henderson’s postseason fate, but the simplest route for McCoy and the Trojans is to win Friday night against Valley.

“We have to win,” McCoy said. “We can’t worry about the tiebreaker scenarios because there are a lot of them. I think we handle our business by winning. That is what we have been focusing on, not so much the ways that we wouldn’t make it, but how we will make it. We make it by winning.”

Charles Henderson’s opponent Valley comes into Friday’s game with a 4-4 overall record and are 2-3 in region play. They are coming off a 28-2 win over Rehobeth last week.

The Rams have traded wins for losses throughout the season. They have yet to win back-to-back games this season. They lost two consecutive games against Greenville and Carroll earlier in the season.

“They are kind of up and down,” McCoy said. “They had some guys they were missing. You can tell by the scores offensively they kind of went into a slump. They play a two-quarterback system, both of them have different skill sets. They have some pretty good receivers.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams have held their opponents to single digit points in two out of their last three games.

“Defensively they are big and physical,” McCoy said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.