Trojans to play for region title after win over Tallassee

Published 11:01 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

Charles Henderson High senior quarterback Pooka Jones threw for three touchdown passes and ran for another while the defense pitched a shutout in a 27-0, Class 5A, Region 2 bout with Tallassee Friday night in Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

With the win, CHHS improves to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the Region 2 standings, while Tallassee slipped to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the region.

In other important action Friday night, Rehobeth defeated previous region-leader Valley 12-7, setting up a winner-take-all matchup next Friday when CHHS visits Valley. With CHHS and Valley each having one loss in region play, the winner will be the Region 2 champion and is expected to host the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

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CHHS head coach Brad McCoy was pleased with the defensive performance, and the ability of the offense to show improvement from game-to-game.

“I thought our defense played a great game tonight, and my hat is off to them and Coach (Travis) Baxley and their defensive staff,” said Coach McCoy. “They had a great defensive game plan. Offensively we were able to run the football. This was the second week in a row that we understood that we have got to be able to run the football. The offensive line has really done an excellent job of really working out some issues that we have had.”

The Trojans got on the board on their third offensive play of the game when Jones connected with Javen Hill for a 77-yard touchdown play, the extra point was not successful, and CHHS led 6-0 with 9:41 to go in the first quarter.

Jones found Hill again for a 12-yard touchdown pass play early in the second quarter, capping a 45-yard drive, Hayden Bush kicked the extra point, and it was 13-0 CHHS with 9:28 to go in the first half.

Jay Taylor caught a 9-yard pass from Jones good for a touchdown, Bush kicked again, and it was 20-0 with 3:07 remaining in the half.

CHHS took the kickoff to open the third quarter, and quickly scored. Jones culminated the drive with a fake handoff to Jonathan Carter, Jones ran it in from 1-yard out for the touchdown, Bush kicked, and it was 27-0 with 8:35 to go in the third quarter.

The defense kept Tallassee on their heels the entire night, with CHHS linebacker J.B. Sanders intercepting two passes to stop Tiger drives.

The improvement by CHHS on offense was aided by the return of senior center Sam Knox, who missed six weeks due to a high-ankle sprain, and subsequent surgery.

Jones completed his first seven pass attempts to start the night and ended the contest connecting on 10 of 15 for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Carter rushed for 76 yards on 14 carries to lead all rushers.

Tallassee was led in rushing by Zavion Carr who picked up 38 yards on 17 carries, while Jayln Daniels had 26 yards on seven carries.

The Trojans have two games remaining, one region game at Valley and a non-region matchup to end the regular season at Baldwin County. Tallassee will host Beauregard in a region game and Elmore County in a non-region tilt to close out their season.

Coach McCoy believes his players are focused on what is at hand when they travel to Valley next Friday,

“To win a region title, we have got to win the next game at Valley,” said McCoy. “We’ve got to look at it, but it increases our chances of playing at home in the first round of the playoffs, and that’s big. Our guys have their sites set and they understood that a win tonight would put us in position to play for a region championship, and they are excited about it. This is the first time we’ve had this opportunity since I’ve been here, and it just shows that the program is moving in the right direction. Our senior class is a great group.

“Playing at Valley will be a big challenge, but we play some pretty good football on the road, when you look at our games at Beauregard and Carroll, maybe we can put it together again next week.”

Region 2 standings at the end of the night have CHHS and Valley each standing at 4-1, Rehobeth is 4-2, Greenville is 3-2, Tallassee is 2-3, Beauregard 1-4 and Carroll of Ozark is 0-5.