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Trojans fall to Cardinals, 35-28, in prep pigskin shootout Phillip Brents | Thu, Sep 29 2011 10:25 PM

Last Friday’s game at Castle Park between the host Trojans and Hoover Cardinals epitomized high school football. The teams were tied with the clock winding down, and the last team with the ball had the chance to win.

Hoover did just that, scoring with 15 seconds left, to disappoint the partisan crowd.

The thrill-a-minute 35-28 non-league loss dropped Castle Park to 1-3 on the season while the Cardinals improved to 3-1.

For the hosts, the setback was almost like a victory. The Trojans battled back from an early 21-0 deficit.

“It was pretty exciting,” CP coach Hans Graham said. “It was a great game. It was just disappointing to lose it.”

Quarterback Dionte Whitfield was the star of the game for Hoover. He completed 14 of 17 passing attempts for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Deshawn Degrate was not far behind in the accolade column for the Cardinals after rushing nine times for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Mokoto Mojus (three catches, 52 yards) caught two touchdown passes. Whitfield’s game-winning TD went to Damonte Holiday (two catches, 75 yards). One of Holiday’s catches measured 60 yards. The game-winner came on a 15-yard scoring pass.

Dominique Whitfield had two catches for 52 yards. Degrate led the Hoover defense with 13 tackles, including 10 solo stops.

The Trojans rushed 41 times for 237 yards, led by Daniel Hernandez (17 carries, 161 yards). Hernandez and Aaron Leon (15 carries, 53 yards) each scored one touchdown to lead Castle Park, which also benefited from four field goals by Juan Luna and a two-point safety. Luna also booted two extra point conversions to finish the game with 14 points.

“We made it 21-10 at halftime and got the ball to open the second half and scored to make it 21-17,” Graham said. “We kept chipping away with three field goals and a safety to go up 28-21. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves, then we had a turnover.”

After a run of 28 unanswered points by the Trojans, the Cardinals scored the final two touchdowns of the game.

“They made some real good plays, give them all the credit,” Graham said.

Defensively, Hoover’s Jaquille Bradford and Martin Chavez each recorded interceptions while Jose Garcia, Joel Guadarmma and Filiberto Tapia each registered sacks for Castle Park. Four Trojans also recovered fumbles: Genaro Alonzo, Garcia, Marcos Rubio and Nicolas Rascon.

The game also served as a homecoming for several Hoover coaches, including head coach Cree Morris and assistants Derek Dahlen, Burt Grossman and Freddy Dunkle with former ties to Troy.

“It was emotional,” Graham said. “After I bit, I got into the game and could see the coaches on the other side of the field doing the same. It got quite serious. We matured a lot as a football team in the game, and that’s going to help us down the line. We were better than the previous week, and that’s all I can ask from the team — to keep improving each week as we head into league play.”

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