The #4 Hueytown Golden Gophers travel to play the #2 Clay-Chalkville Cougers in a non-region game in Cougar Stadium Friday night. Both teams are coming off big wins and want to improve their teams going into region play next week.
Hueytown had to forfeit the game to Clay-Chalkville due to COVID-19 last season and both teams are looking forward to this matchup. "I liked how are team approached fall camp and going into our game against Minor," said Gophers head coach Greg Patterson. "We've had two good days of practice and excited to have the opportunity to compete against Clay and Coach Gilmores' team."
Hueytown (1-0) has a lot of weapons on offense. Starting quarterback Earl Woods has been huge for the Gophers. The Shades Valley transfer completed 10-of-16 passing for 170 yards with 133 yards on 15 carries & 3 TD's against Minor (57-14) last Friday night. "Earl is so athletic and allusive in space," added Patterson. "I'm a defensive guy at heart and this type of athletic quarterback is so hard to prepare for. You never know when he can tuck it and run so you have to account for him on defense. He has fit right in to our team. A great personality in being a jokester in the field house and having a good time. He has been a breathe of fresh air."
The receiving core is very good and dynamic. Big plays can be had at any given time. Senior De'Andre Coleman is the huge playmaker for the Gophers. "The kid has so much talent and size," said Patterson. "He has been committed to the process. After his freshman year, he committed to the process to learn. The small details on being a great receiver. He does a great job of reading coverages. Once he decided to put that mental side of the game with his physical talents, his game just exploded." Coleman made his final three college choices in Virginia, Coastal Carolina and Florida State.
The other receivers are Kendall Ruffin, Vince Tucker and WR/RB Ja'Khael Rowser. "Rouser started last year as a freshman and he has been huge for us," added Patterson. "He can run it out of the backfield, catch it out of the backfield or from the slot position. Kendall is in our utility guy that fills a big role for our team. Vince is a baseball guy that we have in house that has really helped us."
Also, basketball athlete Kendrick Roberts will get some snaps at receiver. Blaze Patrick will play fullback. Elijah Hudson (G-baby) will get 10 to 12 snaps per game at running back. A lot of depth and talent at running back and receiver for the Gophers. Rouser is going to stay on the field and rotate these other three backs depending on the game situation. It is running back by committee but don't forget about Woods running the football.
The offensive line has talent and has two starters back from last season. Tremayne Thompson stands at 6'3" 325-pounds and is a force at tackle. Center Braden Northcutt is the brains of the group. Making sure the right calls are given for each play. A real good football IQ. Three newcomers to round out the line are Jordan Groom, Dashon Green and Jordan Tannehill.
The defense played well last week and was a pleasant surprise to the Gophers. "We did a good job of getting people to the ball," said Patterson. "We have experience at middle linebacker, our D-line is solid but we had to plug and play. Our secondary is very athletic and they played well last week."
Defensive Mikel Hines is very good and has overcome injuries to stay in the game of football. Jordan Webster and E.J. Ricks fill out the defensive front. Linebackers Evan Brown, Demyka Bland and Noah Estridge are key for the Gophers. "Evan is our adjuster and is one of the strongest kids on our team," said Patterson. "He is a tough kid and he likes the contact."
In the secondary is Jaden Thomas, Luke Price, O.J. Sealie and Kam Kynard. Thomas makes the key calls in the secondary. "Thomas is a very good skilled player," added Patterson. "We tried him everywhere on defense, but he has settled in the secondary. He has done very well for us. He is a smart kid and gets us lined up correctly on the back end. He has been a big plus for us."
Clay-Chalkville (1-0) has a big win over Shades Valley by a 40-0 score. The Cougars look to take to this game and want to keep improving. A lot of talent at the skilled positions for the Cougars as they look to keep developing the offensive and defensive line play.
At quarterback is Khalib Johnson. The Louisville verbal commitment played well in his first game. Johnson threw for over 1,900 yards last season and looks to improve on that mark. Johnson has a strong arm that can sit in the pocket and make big plays. At running back, Edward Osley will get most of the carries. A very elusive running back with good speed and quickness. Also, Cam'ron Williams will get some carries for the Cougars. A quick back that can catch it out of the backfield.
The wide receivers are very good and explosive. This group can stretch the field with the best of them. Senior Marquarius White is the key for the receiving group. White has tremendous hands, great route runner with great speed and he knows his quarterback very well. Another deep threat is Nate Owens. Mario Craver is another wide receiver in the starting lineup.
The offensive line play doesn't have much experience but they played well last week and look to get better each week. Kyrell Wiggins, Corey Calvin, Pierre White, Paul Lee and A.J. Williams will start for the Cougars.
The defense shut out Shades Valley and played really well last week. The defensive front of Kaleb Sims, Jamon Smith and Kevin Hurley played a lot of snaps for the Cougars and put a lot of pressure on the offense. Linebackers Rodarius Sykes, Jordan Walker, Devin Finley, Coda Cooper and Dj Barber get playing time.
The secondary is made up of Jayden Sweeney, Jeremy Billingsley, Lamar Croskey, Ormond Wallace and Jaylen Wbakwe.
This is going to fun watching to see which defense can get the most stops against these high powered offenses.