Rivalry Renewed: Bulldogs and Trojans face off in Troy

Published 7:24 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019

The annual cross county showdown is upon us as the Pike County Bulldogs and Charles Henderson Trojans clash at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday.

The game doesn’t mean much in the record books, in fact it won’t reflect it all, but in the minds of the players, coaches and fans, it means just as much if not more than the ones that do.

It’s a game that pits friends versus friends and perhaps neighbors versus neighbors with bragging rights on the line for the 365 or so days.

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“It means a lot,” said Pike County head coach Fred Holland. “It’s a jamboree game, but we look at it as bragging rights for 365 days. We look forward to the game. It’s an exciting game for our fans and our community. I’m sure Charles Henderson, their fans and coach McCoy are all looking forward to the game.”

“The kids are excited about it as they always are,” said head coach Brad McCoy. “I think the biggest thing is the proximity of the two communities. There are so many kids that are intermingled. Maybe they played rec league football together or some of them live close to each other. I think there a lot of connections between the two sets of players.”

The Bulldogs enter Veterans Memorial Stadium hungry for a win. After winning three consecutive games against the Trojans from 2005-2007, Charles Henderson has had the upper hand on their rivals, beating Pike County 11-straight years.

Because of the lengthy drought, Holland believes a strong showing in this evening’s contest would go a long way towards having a successful season in 2019.

“I think it will be a great opportunity,” Holland said. “To see themselves on film and to see what kind of adjustments they will have to make, it can only be a positive situation.”

The game will feature plenty of new faces, especially on the Pike County roster. The Bulldogs will feature plenty of players seeing action for the first time on Friday night.

“These three weeks have been good for us,” Holland said. “I know for some of them this will be their first full game. I am eager to see how they respond to some things. The older guys have done a good job trying to guide them in the right direction. I feel like our guys will be ok.”

Coaches always have a different approach when it comes to scrimmages. Holland falls into the camp that believes that a scrimmage is a perfect time to treat it like a regular game.

“I enjoy competing,” Holland said. “So many teams make modifications during a game. I like to play a full game because that is what you’re going to have to do in a regular game. You get to see how we are going to do on offense, defense and special teams.”

The Trojans enter the game hoping to build off their momentum from the spring.

“We have been preparing since January,” McCoy said. “We treat this just like the next one and that’s how we approach it. We don’t see it as a Jamboree and I know coach Holland doesn’t either.”

The Trojans enter this season on the heels of a 3-7 2018 season. It was a season that ended in the postseason.

The Trojans averaged 20 points per game while allowing 32.5 points per game.

“Coach McCoy does a great job preparing his players for the season,” Holland said. “I expect them to continue to run the ball at us like they have been doing. They will be good offensively and defensively.”

The Bulldogs advanced past the second round of the postseason for the first time since 2007. They finished with an overall 10-3 record and went 8-2 in the regular season.

Kickoff between the two rivals is set for 7 p.m.