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Winner's circle: Dougherty beats Clarkston for Hicks' first victory as Trojans coach

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY - Dougherty shook the monkey off its back Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium, and once the Trojans were free of the beast, they kicked it around a couple of times just for good measure.

Ra'Shon Solomon ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries as Dougherty notched its first win of the season with a 26-6 win against Clarkston. The Trojans improved to 1-2 by racking up 312 yards on the ground while holding the Angoras to 120 yards in total offense --- 73 coming off two runs by freshman Stephen Shepard.

"Oh, man, this feels great!" first-year Trojans head coach Jessee Hicks said as his team celebrated around him. "We've got enough athletes here to win, we just have to change some attitudes and I think this will help a lot. When we start changing attitudes, I'm telling you some good things are going to start happening in East Albany."

Dougherty opened the game with a 58-yard scoring drive, culmanating in quarterback Justin Nelson's three-yard touchdown run to make it 6-0 with 6:40 remaining in the opening period. The Trojans pushed the lead to 12-0 at the half after Solomon ripped off a 47-yard scoring run.

Clarkston, which remained winless on the year at 0-2, managed just 17 yards in total offense in the first half.

"When things go bad, we need to learn how to fight through adversity," Clarkston coach James Rollerson said. "We haven't learned to do that yet. We need to build some confidence, but we are a long way from that right now."

After opening the third quarter by holding Clarkston to a three-and-out, Dougherty, sparked by a 48-yard run by Nelson, went 65 yards in just six plays for the score. Solomon carried it in from eight yards out for an 18-0 advantage with 8:35 to go in the period.

The Trojans, taking advantage of a Clarkston fumble at the Angoras' 27, scored just over a minute later when Nelson hit Sharoski Griffin with a 10-yard TD pass to make it 24-0.

Clarkston spoiled the Trojans' shutout hopes on its next possession when Shepard spun right on a 42-yard reverse that set up Cepada Glover's four-yard touchdown catch from William White to cut the Dougherty lead to 24-6 with 1:33 remaining in the third period.

The Trojans substituted liberally in the fourth quarter, losing two fumbles in the period before closing out the scoring with a Malcolm Barney safety with 2:16 remaining for the final 26-6 margin.

"It was nice to get to play a lot of people (Friday night) and our young guys really stepped up," Hicks said. "We are still having a problem with special teams (because we failed to convert any of four PAT attempts) but we can work on that. We'll go into practice next week with a different attitude."

Dougherty will entertain 2-1 Wilkinson County next Saturday night at Hugh Mills Stadium, while Clarkston will face South Atlanta at Grady Stadium.