In a key Class 7A Region 3 contest, the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies will play the Hoover Bucs at the Hoover Met on Friday night. Hewitt-Trussville comes into the game with a region loss to top ranked Thompson while Hoover comes into the game undefeated. Both teams need the win to stay with Thompson for the region title.
Hewitt-Trussville (5-1, 2-1) came back strong after their loss with Thompson with a win over 6A Huffman last week. "Coming off a tough week, the week before I wanted to see how they would respond," said Huskies head coach Josh Floyd. "I wanted our team to respond in a positive way and I think we did that. I wanted to see their attitude in practice ready to work on Monday and put that loss behind us."
The offense has been pretty good for most of the season. The Huskies offense is averaging 39.8 points per game. The only time they haven't scored in double digit scores was against Thompson scoring only nine points in the game.
The offense is run by quarterback Cade Ott Carruth. The senior QB has completed 98-of-157 passing for 1,330 yards with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions along with 157 yards on 98 carries and five touchdowns this season. Running back James Hammonds has crazy good speed and is having a big year. Hammonds has 547 yards on 74 carries with eight touchdowns. Running back/defensive back Conner Thomas has carries this season. Thomas had a long touchdown run for the Huskies against Huffman last week.
Carruth has a lot of weapons to turn to when throwing the football. Auburn commit Omari Kelly is dynamic and has the speed and the hands to make plays all over the field. Kelly has 45 receptions for 632 yards and five touchdowns. Also, Jordan McCants is another great receiver for the Huskies. "Jordan is a very good route runner and is very explosive," added Floyd. "We try to get the ball in his hands in different ways. He has been banged up for the last few weeks but he has been healthy since our last game so that has been good for us." McCants has 19 receptions for 270 yards and four touchdowns.
Another Husky receiver that comes to play every practice and every game is Ryan Shoop. "He is a having a great senior year," said Floyd. "Ryan had a great offseason and has put in the work to be a very good receiver. Very proud of his effort. He has stepped up his senior season and has made some great plays for us." Shoop has 15 receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
The offensive line is one of the best in Class 7A. Riley Quick, Maverick McIntrye, Adam Norris, Ryan Gunter and Kade Martin have some great game experience. Quick, an Alabama commitment that is going to focus on baseball, had all kinds of football offers but wants to focus on baseball only. Martin is just a sophomore and is getting major looks from college coaches. "Kade is a big, strong physical kid that loves the game and he is only a sophomore," added Floyd. "A very smart football player. He loves the physical part of the game. High football IQ. He has played every position on the line for us. Playing center for us sometimes will make him very valuable on the next level. He is a very versatile player for us."
The defense is very good. The front seven is going to give opposing defensive problems each week as they have a lot of speed and size up front. Defensive tackle Tyrell Averhart leads the team with 3.5 sacks. Harrison Asbury is another good run stuffer. The two outside guys are off the charts. Texas commitment Justice Finkley and Hunter Osborne can cause all kinds of disruption around the line of scrimmage. You pretty much have to double both of them to have any kind of success to move the football. "We felt before the season that they would be a key area for us," said Floyd. "They have played well. There are things we can improve on but Harrison has moved back and forth from the offense to the defense and he is just a big, strong kid having a great year."
Osborne recruiting has been on the rise this season. Just this past week, the junior defensive end has offers from Iowa, Arizona, Oregon, Illinois and Michigan. He already had offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Southern Cal and many more. "He is so tall and long," said Floyd. "Very athletic guy with his size. He has a very high ceiling. He is a great kid on and off the field. Does things the right way. Coaches really enjoy talking to him."
At linebacker, Hunter Jones, Bam White and Braylon Chatman lead the way. White is the leading tackler on the team with 55 tackles on the season. Jones has 49 tackles and four tackles for loss. The secondary has KJ Jackson, Thomas, Dawson Blount, Rickey Gibson and Riggs Dunn.
Riley Rigg and William Curtis handle the special teams for the Huskies.
For Hoover (6-0, 3-0), the Bucs come off a road win at Prattville last week. Hoover has been very consistent with their play even through some injuries through the first half of the season. "I've seen some good things but I've seen some things we need to improve on in the first half of the season," said Bucs head coach Josh Niblett. "I have seen us week in and week out make some adjustments with players getting sick, injured or the game not going the way we like. It has been exciting to see our players respond in a positive way. We have played hard week in and week out. We feel like we are bigger, faster and stronger as in the past."
Wide receiver RJ Hamilton hasn't played a snap this season and only time will tell if the Bucs leading receiver the last two years will return. Just like last season, the Bucs had different players out with sickness and it has been the same for the first half of the season but players are getting back to good health and they did it winning all their games in the first half of the season.
The offense is led by quarterback Bennett Meredith. The senior QB is having a great season for the Bucs. "This has been a learning process with our wide receivers," added Niblett. "We are young and not much experience. Bennett has done a great job of coaching them up and communicating with our receivers. He is such a big time player and can make all the throws. He is having a great season." Meredith has completed 82-of-135 passing for 1,283 yards with 14 touchdowns and one interception.
Some of those receivers for the Bucs are reliable Cotton Peters, Cai Mayowa, KJ Law, Lamarion McCammon, and Freddie Bunson. McCammon has been on the running back side of things a few times this season. Due to injury, Sky Niblett and Jabari Gaines have only played together for two games and they are a big problem for opposing secondaries. They can either run it or throw it having two tight ends out on the field together.
The running backs are very good with Ahamari Williams. The junior running back has 642 yards on 93 carries and seven touchdowns on the season. Kamal Amerson, McCammon, and Nehemiah Anderson can get carries for the Bucs offense. "We have to have some guys ready to go with Ahamari," said Niblett. "Were trying to get guys prepared week in and week out."
The offensive line is made up of AJ Franklin, Houston Vessey, Jordan Washington, Jason Avelar, Ethan Hubbard. "Houston was moved from D-line to O-line and is a main guy for us," added Niblett. "He can play guard or tackle. He has a great nastiness about him coming off the ball and has played really well for us. Jason has been the glue for us at center. AJ has been very consistent for us and he is just a junior. Our number one is to win the run totals on both side of the ball. We have to find the five best guys each week. Were still trying to find those five that will give us the best chance to win."
The defense is solid with a lof of team speed that do a good job of rallying to the football each play. The Bucs only give up 13.5 points per game in the top region in the state. "We have brought some pressure and we can really run to the ball," said Niblett. "We have some depth right now and that has been good."
Defensive lineman Marcus Clark is really good. "He is such a professional," said Niblett. "He understands the game. He wants to get better. He is always thinking to get better. He enjoys the team and being around the other players. He is such a great technician. Changed his body a little bit. He is more faster than he has ever been. He can play inside or outside and demands a double team or he will win the one on one matchup along with being a good tackler."
With Clark in the box are Terrell Jones, DJ Estes, Corey Warren, Andrew Parrish, Bradley Shaw, Jordan Norman and Chaleb Powell.
The secondary has Paul Thompson, Jacob Finley, Jay Avery, Keith Christein and Dale Miller. Last week, Thompson picked off a pass deep in Prattville territory and returned it for a touchdown. "If your going to win championships, you have to make plays like Paul did," said Niblett. "When you keep guys out of the end zone, you give yourself opportunities. Paul was taught to be in the right place and he made a great play on the ball. The guys did a good job of not blocking in the back and that was big for us."
Special teams will be in good hands with kicker/punter Peyton Argent. Carter Milliron is the long snapper for the Bucs.