• John Macon Gillespie

Remember The Name: C.J. Terrell

Football is a game of attrition. It’s about enduring adversity. The other team isn’t the only opponent. The biggest enemy is yourself. It’s the attitude of your team. It’s your work off of the field. The special moments of football occur when a player reaches out, overcomes himself, and swings the pendulum of victory to his sideline.

Last Friday night, the Crosstown Classic between Oxford and Lafayette was decided by a couple of special moments. Both teams started off fast scoring on each of their first possessions. Oxford got out to a touchdown lead in the first quarter. Lafayette cut the lead down to three and went into the locker room trailing 17-14. It was still anyone’s game in the second half. Every drive was huge and neither team could afford mistakes. The Chargers offense showed it could score consistently. The real question was if the defense could get key stops and hold off the comeback minded Commodores.

Enter CJ Terrell, the sophomore defensive back of Oxford High School.

His friends are on the other sideline and across the line of scrimmage from him. If the Crosstown Classic is about anything, it’s about bragging rights. This much was true for Terrell, but more than that this game was about playing rights. It was about showing his presence in the Chargers’ defensive unit.

After earning playing time through quality practices, this game was about proving himself. In the 3rd quarter, Terrell snagged an interception to get the ball back into the hands of the offense. (It happened so fast I wasn’t able to get my camera up in time to film it) Pretty good right? Most guys would have been satisfied with that and been proud of their contribution. CJ Terrell isn’t most guys and he wasn’t in your average football game. The Commodores still had another quarter to find some magic and win the game.

To start the fourth quarter, the Commodores lined up to begin a crucial 90 plus yard drive. Trailing 24-14, the Dores drove down field like a machine. A couple of big plays and Lafayette was within striking distance.

Then came ‘the play’.

The Dores took their 20-yard shot for the end zone. The ball is flying, the foot race is on, and it’s a battle of wills between Terrell and the Commodore wide receiver. As they cross the 10-yard line, Terrell channels his inner Senquez Golson, and intercepts the pass at the front of the end zone. He stopped the surging Commodores and made his impact at the most important part of the game.

Sure, Lafayette went on to score again. But, the Chargers scored one last time to secure the victory for good. Regardless, CJ Terrell’s performance was one of the most memorable of the night. I think his status, as the starter is pretty secure for now.

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