Trojans look to rebound against Beauregard

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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After a heartbreaking loss to Carroll last week, the Charles Henderson Trojans (1-2, 1-1) are looking to get back on track this week against the Beauregard Hornets (3-1, 1-1) in a Class 5A, Region 2 road matchup.

Charles Henderson lost 34-24 to Carroll last week, a late interception return for a touchdown for the Eagles sealing the Trojan loss.

“We dominated the game for three quarters. When I say we dominated I mean our offensive line and defensive line moved them around the whole game,” CHHS Coach Quinn Hambrite said. “Their quarterback, like I said last week, is so elusive that we knew we had to contain him. Regardless of how many yards he had, we needed to keep him out of the end zone and we did that for the most part. The effort was there for most of the game but we have to be resilient when things don’t go our way and when calls don’t go our way. I think the boys tried to do that, I really think they tried to be resilient in those times. I also feel like that they feel like it was taken away from them instead of just completely losing the game and being dominated. I think that hurts them more than anything.”

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Regardless of the frustrations, the Trojans are turning their attention to a very tough opponent in Beauregard. The Hornets won their first two games by a combined 76-6 before losing to Valley in overtime two weeks ago. They then bounced back to win 35-14 last week over Tallassee.

Charles Henderson trails the all-time series with Beauregard 4-6, dating back to 2008. Last season, the Hornets gave CHHS its only loss in the regular season, 27-7. The Trojans ripped off nine straight wins after that before losing in the state championship.

“Beauregard is big and physical and they’ll run downhill at you,” Hambrite said. “They’re big, probably average 300 pounds across the board on the offensive line. They’re probably the only offensive line we’ll play all year that’s bigger than ours.”

Beauregard’s “running back by committee” offense is led by senior Jayden Doolittle, who has 220 yards and two touchdowns, while ZJ Grady has 135 carries and three scores. Beauregard’s star running back Jacori Tarver (1,209 yards, 14 TDs in 2022) has not played this season due to injury. Junior Caleb Piner leads the Hornet defense with 43 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and a sack.

“They’re going to be physical,” Hambrite said of the Hornets. “They have a new quarterback and they like to give the ball to (Doolittle). We don’t know if (Tarver) is going to play. He may or may not play but we’re working on everything we’ve seen on film.

“They have a solid core in their backfield. Defensively, they’re solid and will be where they’re supposed to be all the time. Hopefully we can still run it down the middle on them, so we can get some stuff on the perimeter and be able to take some shots (down the field).”

For the Trojans this season, the offense runs through quarterback Parker Adams, who has thrown for 639 yards and six touchdowns. Zach Coleman has piled up 513 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while athlete Jywon Boyd has 21 catches for 365 yards and four touchdowns along with 135 yards and one touchdown rushing.

On defense, Zion Grady leads the way with 34 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, five sacks and an interception return for a touchdown. Boyd also has 10 tackles, a forced fumble and three interceptions with two returns for touchdowns.

Despite suffering two losses early in the season, Hambrite still sees greatness in his Trojans.

“I want to see resiliency in our guys and I want them to play to their potential. I feel like we have a very, very good team and maybe even a great team,” he emphasized. “We just have to be competent and have to be there for each other and lift each other up. Most importantly, we have to have each other’s backs when things go bad.

“When things go downhill we tend to go back to our 2-8 (mindset) and that isn’t what we’ve been building here. We’re building a team of resilient, hard working kids and that’s what I expect to see on Friday. I expect that team to come back on Friday. We’re a very good team and we have a lot of growing to do but we’re also senior heavy. We have a bunch of three-year starters that can hopefully get it together and take control of the team.”