Greenville ends four-year losing streak to Trojans, 24-14
Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2006
The last time the Greenville Tigers defeated the Charles Henderson Trojans, Greenville head coach Bryant Vincent was roaming the sidelines for the Trojans as an assistant.
Fast forward five years later to Friday night and Greenville once again earned the victory, except this time, Vincent is roaming the sidelines for the Tigers.
“I'm just so happy we beat Charles Henderson tonight and I'm just so happy for this community,” Vincent said.
Leading up to this week's game, Vincent pointed out to his team the lack of respect people in Troy have for the Greenville program and following Friday night's win, he hopes that has changed.
“They respect us now,” Vincent told his team following the game. “We bow down to no one.”
The Tigers (8-1) opened up the game a little sluggish and after the two teams traded punts, the Greenville offense got into gear.
Following a few big runs by running back Brandon Cheatham, quarterback Casey Weston, who used to be the ball boy for Vincent at Charles Henderson, took the ball in from five yards out to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead after the successful extra-point kick.
The Charles Henderson defense stepped up after the Greenville touchdown until eight minutes to go in the first half when Weston hit senior receiver Lynn Lewis for a 60-yard pass that set up a 28-yard touchdown run by Cheatham.
After the extra point sailed wide left, the Tigers led 13-0 and were determined to get the ball back.
On the Trojans' ensuing possession, sophomore defensive lineman Jamontay Pilson knocked the ball loose and recovered it for the Tigers.
“(Pilson) is a little young to be a leader, but he's a good player and he's getting to that point where his teammates can look at him and say ‘Pilson, we need a play' and he steps up and makes it,” Greenville defensive coordinator Ernest Hill said.
Playing with a short field after the fumble recovery, Weston once again took the ball in for the touchdown from five yards out, but this time he trucked the Trojans' standout athlete, Harrison Bryant, at the goal line.
“That play right there sums up what kind of player Casey Weston is,” Vincent said.
Weston finished with 22 carries for 106 yards.
Down 21-0 with five minutes to go in the half, the Trojans would not roll over.
Quarterback Jevoris Carter, after making several longs runs, took the ball in from one yard out to cut the Tigers' lead to 21-7, but Greenville wasn't finished.
For the second time in the game, the Tigers got a huge boost from their kick return game as Michael Peagler raced 45 yards to give Greenville the ball in Trojan territory.
After the drive stalled, Weston split the uprights from 37 yards out to give the Tigers a 24-7 lead at the half.
The Tigers would not score again.
After a tipped Weston pass was intercepted in the end zone early in the second half, Carter once again sprinted into the end zone, this time from 50 yards out, to cut the Tiger lead to 24-14.
After the ensuing Greenville possession stalled, Carter returned the punt 49 yards deep into Tiger territory, but that's when the Tiger defense stepped up.
With 26 second remaining in the third quarter, Carter rolled out for a pass into the end zone but was intercepted as Lewis jumped up and took the Trojan pass away for the touchback.
Neither team would score in the fourth quarter as Greenville wound the clock down and secured home-field advantage in the first round of the AHSAA Class 5A state playoffs.
“It was a total team effort,” Vincent said. “But defense, that stand inside the 10-yard line, you bowed up and I'm proud of you.”
Not only did Greenville get a solid effort on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball, but the Tiger special teams played a huge role in Friday night's win.
“That is something we put total focus on from the day we got here: being good in all phases of the game,” Vincent said.
The Tigers close out the regular season on the road next week at Wetumpka and then return home in two weeks for the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Kickoff for Friday night's game is scheduled for 7 p.m.