Football caps spring practice with T-Day

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

Football returned to Veterans Memorial Stadium as Troy took the field for the annual Gray-White game on Saturday.

The White team came out with a come-from-behind 21-20 win over the Gray team in front of a crowd one spectator called “The largest I’ve seen at a Troy spring game in five years.”

Before the game, Head Coach Neal Brown had the team run five competitive drills for points. The White team won three of those drills and entered the game with a 3-2 lead.

Quarterbacks Kaleb Barker and Sawyer Smith each played for both teams while rising senior and starter Brandon Silvers was held out for precautionary reasons. Barker and Smith duked it out in the final spring scrimmage, each leading a pair of scoring drives.

The first touchdown of the game was scored by the Gray team when Barker kept a read option himself and scored from 13 yards out to give Gray a 9-3 lead. Junior kicker Bratcher Underwood, Ryan Kay’s replacement, split the uprights for the Gray team on his only official attempt of the day to put Gray up 12-3 at halftime.

Gray expanded its lead when its defense recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Down 19-3, White scored its first touchdown of the game via senior running back Keith Johnson’s touchdown on a five-yard toss play.

After Gray’s ensuing drive ended with a Barker interception in the red zone, Smith led the White team on a drive that featured a 50-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Sam Letton and was capped by a touchdown run by Smith.

With the score 19-17 following the touchdown, White attempted and completed a jet sweep double pass to junior wide receiver T.J. Bell for the 2-point conversion.

After time expired in the fourth quarter, Brown settled the tie by running three drills to determine the winner. White won two of those drills and won the steak dinner that was promised to the victor.

Sawyer went 9-15 for 86 yards and a rushing touchdown while Barker finished 5-8 for 38 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown.

The star of the game was former Memphis Tiger running back Jamarius Henderson. Henderson, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfers rules, received the bulk of Gray’s carries while running backs Jordan Chunn, Jabir Frye and B.J. Smith all sat out.

Henderson made the most of his chance, running as if he were made of rubber through would-be tacklers on his way to 84 yards on eight carries.

Troy returns to the field in August for fall practice when it will gear up for Boise State. The Trojans’ home-opener will be on Sept. 9 against Alabama State.

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