New season: Trojans travel to Birmingham to take on Ramsay in opening round of state playoffs
Published 6:55 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2018
The Charles Henderson Trojans get set to begin postseason play on Friday night against Ramsay.
The Trojans finished the regular season with an overall record of 3-6, but a fourth-place finish in Class 5A Region 2 secured the Trojans their playoff bid for the ninth consecutive season.
The Trojans have had to battle the weather and injuries this week, but head coach Brad McCoy feels like his team is ready for Friday night.
“We have had to battle some weather issues this week,” McCoy said. “We have had a good week of practice. We have been inside some and outside some. We’ve gotten healed up in a few areas. We have been battling some injuries this past week.”
The Trojans have been battling concussions, as well as hip and shoulder injuries this week, but McCoy feels like his team will heal up in advance on Friday’s game.
“I have had all kinds of odd injuries,” McCoy said. “Hopefully we have nursed those guys back. They practiced this morning (Wednesday).”
The Trojans finished in fourth place this season and, although that wasn’t the goal, they feel excited about getting another opportunity in the postseason.
“Our expectation of course is to make the playoffs,” McCoy said. “We had higher expectations than receiving the number four seed. We have had to face a lot of adversity this year, but the kids battled and overcame. We have had to use a lot of different lineups this year to replace some guys.”
One of those guys that had to step up was quarterback Pooka Jones. Jones took over as the starting quarterback in the middle of a game against Greenville. After the Trojans fell to the Tigers 42-17, Jones led the Trojans to two consecutive victories against Carroll and Tallassee.
“Pooka Jones has made some strides,” McCoy said. “He had some really good ballgames even in the last two losses. He had some tremendous numbers.”
Jones will be asked to lead a group of skill position players that have helped score 25 points per game over the last three weeks.
“Every one of them from Sean McKinney to Chance Pollard and Jackson Giles, these guys have made some big plays in critical times,” McCoy said. “They have come along with their blocking on the perimeter and they are doing everything we have asked them to do.”
Jones will get his first taste of postseason football on Friday night. Coach McCoy is looking for his young quarterback to stay calm under the bright lights of playoff football.
“You just hope you don’t get the deer in the headlights look,” McCoy said. “Pooka has come a long way after not playing for two years. You just hope that he can kind of settle down and take a deep breath. Take one play at a time and hopefully it won’t be too big for him.”
The Ramsay Rams moved down from Class 6A and in their first season in 5A, the Rams finished with a 9-1 overall record. Their lone loss of the season came in week two against Pinson Valley 28-6.
The Rams were the Class 6A State Champions in 2016.
“They came down to 5A due to numbers,” McCoy said. “They are a very athletic team. They are just stacked at every position. They have a really athletic quarterback that reminds you of the quarterback at Greenville. They have a really good running game. They put the ball on the perimeter and they can throw the ball down field. On defense they blitz a lot, they give you a lot of odd looks with just three down linemen.”
The Trojans look to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2014 season. In the last three playoff games the Trojans have been outscored 135-34.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lawson Field in Birmingham.