County Showdown: Trojans, Dawgs meet this Friday
Published 10:12 am Monday, August 21, 2023
The Charles Henderson Trojans and Pike County Bulldogs will open the 2023 football season with their annual preseason jamboree this Friday, Aug. 25, at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Charles Henderson and Pike County are both coming off successful 2022 seasons that saw the Trojans finish as state runner-up, while Pike County improved from a winless 2021 to advancing to the third round of the Class 3A Playoffs last season.
Charles Henderson wrapped up fall camp last week with the annual “Meet the Trojans” event and scrimmage.
“The kids played hard,” Charles Henderson Coach Quinn Hambrite said of the scrimmage. “We kind of told them to take care of each other, so there weren’t too many big hits. We had a big play on the first play of the game where it looked like an interception but (the ball) got tipped into Jywon (Boyd’s) hands and he ran it down to the two and then Zach (Coleman) scored.
“I was pleased with the effort. We had two offensive linemen out, so we stuck a freshman – Alex Frigge – in there and I thought he did really well. I was really proud of his effort, stepping in as a freshman in that spot.”
Hambrite said the Trojans have spent fall camp working on themselves, rather than planning for any opponents.
“I think fall camp went well, we still have some things we have to fix within ourselves,” he continued. “This will be the first week we’re game planning an opponent. The first two weeks was just us working on getting better and working on ourselves and plugging in holes left from last year. It’s been really hot, but they’ve been giving maximum effort for the circumstances and heat. I’m proud of them.”
The Bulldogs were also concentrating on improving during fall camp.
“I thought we had a good fall camp,” PCHS Coach Mark Hurt said. “It wasn’t perfect but I thought it went well, having to adjust to with the weather and heat and those different factors we had to deal with. I think for the most part we improved and I feel like we accomplished what we set out to accomplish. Improvement, getting better, is a process.”
Last season, Charles Henderson managed to come away with a 35-14 win over Pike County but Hambrite says he knows Pike County will come ready to compete this week.
“Pike County will play hard, they always do,” he emphasized. “They have that grit factor and they’ve always been a contender for the state in their class. They aren’t a team that strives to make the playoffs, they strive to win state titles.
“They will be tough, play hard, play downhill and try to stretch the field on us. Football is like boxing; you give a punch, you take a punch and whoever lands the most punches at the end wins.”
Hurt said he fully expects to see a hungry Trojan team on Friday night.
“I expect to see a team that came up a little bit short of a state championship that will be hungry and ready to play,” Hurt emphasized. “They have a lot of playmakers, a lot of good players and a lot of experienced players. It will be a tough game for us.”
More than anything else, Hambrite said that he wants his team to find their identity this week.
“I have an idea of who we are going to be this year but I want to see that come to fruition this Friday,” Hambrite said. “I want us to be physical, play fast and play disciplined football and minimize our mistakes and have fun while doing it. When you’re having success, football is always more fun. We have to have fun doing it the right way. I like we have built our leadership to make that happen.”
Hurt laid out what he needs to see from his Bulldogs to give themselves a chance to win.
“My guys have to compete and execute our game plan to the best of our ability,” Hurt said. “I want our guys to tackle and prevent turnovers and prevent penalties. If we do those things, we’ll have a chance.
“You can’t miss tackles and make a lot of mistakes and penalties and turn the ball over, nine times out of 10 you don’t win ball games when you do that. If we can take care of the ball and try not to give up too many big plays and tackle well, then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Charles Henderson and Pike County will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.