The #1 Thompson Warriors will travel to Hewitt-Trussville Stadium to play #3 Hewitt-Trussville in a big Class 7A, Region 3 game. The big showcase game between these two heavy weight high schools will be seen on ESPNU at 7:30 pm on Friday night.
Both teams come into the game 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the region. Both teams have wins over Tuscaloosa County and Spain Park in the region. Thompson defeated Tuscaloosa County 49-7 while Hewitt-Trussville defeated Tuscaloosa County 50-18. Against Spain Park, Thompson won 48-35 while Hewitt-Trussville defeated the Jags 45-13.
Thompson won the State 7A Championship but there only loss was against Hewitt-Trussville in the regular season for their only loss of the season. As both coaches know, this is just the next game on the schedule and there is a lot of football to be played after this big game. "I tell people that these collected games have the same value of any other region game," said Warriors Head coach Mark Freeman. "Yes it is exciting, but when Saturday comes and if you win you can have a leg up on the region title but you have to play the year to be good in November. You win them, you can't get overly excited and if things don't go your way on Friday night, you have to get over it because you have another game next week."
Thompson has been putting out the quarterbacks the last two years and you can add their current QB to that list because junior Connor Harrell has been lighting it up. Harrell received his first offer from D1 Tennessee this past week and if you look at his numbers you can see why. "Connor from an experienced stand point I'm surprised he has played very well," added Freeman. "But from a determined, smart young man it doesn't surprise me. When someone with little bit experience plays this well, it is a pleasurable shock."
In 4 games, Harrell completed 70-of-102 passing for 1,180 yards with 13 TD's and an interception along with 129 yards on 20 carries and 4 touchdowns on the ground.
Due to injuries, wide receiver Sam Reynolds has filled in at running back. The South Carolina verbal commitment had 84 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns last week. Lione Cook had 25 yards on 4 carries against Spain Park. Brandon Franklin and Jarrett Crockett could be out against Hewitt-Trussville. Crockett has an offer from UMass.
The receiving unit is very good. JB Mitchell, Tre Roberson, Ryan Peppins and Zac Johnson can make plays. Mitchell has 463 yards on 25 receptions and three touchdowns. Roberson has 269 yards on 20 receptions and three touchdowns. Peppins has 198 yards on 11 receptions and 4 touchdowns. Johnson has one catch for 21 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell has offers from Grambling, Wofford, Central Arkansas UNA, Murray State, Samford and others. Peppins returns kicks and has great speed on his returns.
The offensive line has Anthony Kilborn, Connor Howard, Cole Hall, Anthony Butler and Parker Mitchell. Butler has an offer from Culver-Stockton College, Huntington College and Lagrange College. "We are young on offense," added Freeman. "It has been shocking that he have been playing good losing a special receiver and quarterback. Connor has played good with our receivers. Last year it was easier, this year we are still working."
The Warriors defense has a lot of star power but look to play better with four games under their belt. "Right now we are still working on both sides of the ball," said Freeman. "I'm disappointed in our defense. We need to get off the field on third down. Were not doing the things I thought we were going to be able to do to start the season. We have to get better on defense everyday and it starts at practice. I really thought this was going to be one our best defenses and it hasn't panned out that way."
Linebackers Nate Riddle, Tristan Woody, Joey Nowak, Jax Van Zandt and Alabama verbal commitment Jeremiah Alexander are good. "Jax is a football player" said Freeman. "A guy that has played really well. Him and Tristan Woody have played well. They give you everything they have. The plays they make are incredible. Jax is so smart setting up our defense. Peter and Jeremiah are staples for us." On the season, Alexander has 28 tackles, 8 TFL and 2 sacks. Van Zandt has 27 tackles and two TFL, while Riddle has 21 tackles.
The defensive front has Peter Woods, K'Marion Hambright and Gregory Green. Woods has 22 tackles, 6 TFL and 3.5 sacks. The secondary has Gavin Shipman, Antonio Mitchell and Ahmari Bolden.
Hewitt-Trussville is having a great season so far in 2020. The Huskies were hit hard by injuries last season but managed to defeat Thompson 35-29 at home. "We happy to be playing football right now," said Huskies Head coach Josh Floyd. "We have done some good things so far. Last week, we started slow but I thought our defense played well in the first half and offensively we picked it up in the second half and finished well. We are trying to get better each game, we have some young guys in certain spots so every game we should get better and better."
At quarterback for the Huskies is Cade Carruth, The Huskies QB has completed 25-of-43 passing for 385 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Carruth is a good game manager that has some good weapons around him with a great running game to lean on. If teams put to much pressure on stopping the run, Carruth can pull it and make some big plays with his feet.
The running game has one of the best one-two punch in Class 7A football. Armoni Goodwin and Sean Jackson are very good together. Goodwin holds the current touchdown scoring record at Hewitt-Trussville. "Armoni and Sean are the perfect compliment to each other," added Floyd. "Both balance each other out really well. We like having two backs that way you don't have one players toting the load the entire game and season. Sean is better with Armoni back with him, and Armoni is better with Sean on the field." Goodwin, the Auburn verbal commitment, has 521 yards on 47 carries and eight touchdowns on the season. Jackson has 267 yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns with 94 yards on six carries and a touchdown. Goodwin can out quick you while Jackson can just run through a tackler.
At receiver, Omari Kelly, Cayson Zachery, Trey Washington, Carter Hollis and Matt Miller have playing time. Kelly who holds offers from Purdue, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Arizona State, and Kentucky. Kelly sat out last weeks game against Tuscaloosa County but looks to return this week. Kelly has 122 yards on eight receptions and a touchdown. Zackery has 108 yards on five receptions and a touchdown.
The offensive line is solid. Riley Quick, Maverick McIntyre, Kyle Wright, Kade Martin and Harrison Asbury lead the way. "We like what we have on our offensive line for sure," said Floyd. "We have a really good group being pretty young so I think they will get better as the season goes. Not having spring ball, time is needed for great chemistry. Your still finding a few things out. We still in an evaluation phase, but circumstances are a little different than normal." Quick has many offers that include Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Purdue, Mississippi State among others. Quick has a SEC baseball offer as he is a great two sport star for the Huskies. Also, Quick plays on the defensive line spot a few plays during a game. Quick has a brother that plays football for Alabama. Martin, a freshman who is standing at 6-4, 280 plus pounds, is getting big playing time early in his career.
The defense has been strong. The secondary has 11 interceptions in three games. Washington, Jackson Holland, Kaileb Jackson and Connor Thomas have played well and they have a tough test against the Warriors receivers. "Anytime you talk about turnovers, it starts with the defensive line," said Floyd. "They don't get credit for the interceptions and fumble recovers but it starts with pressure on the quarterback. Makes everything better on the back end with guys making great plays."
The guys up front creating the pressure have been Justice Finkley, Hunter Osborne, Connor Knight, Tyler Pickett and Quick. Finkley has around 23 offers or more. Some include Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia and more. Finkley has 18 tackles and one sack on the season.
The linebackers are good with Landen Berguson, Mike Edwards, Hunter Jones, Bam White and Clint Simpson. "Mike is off to a great start having a great off season," said Floyd. "A senior leader and is long, rangy and athletic. Can cover the run and pass. He is a difficult guy to block and been real proud of him." Berguson has 37 tackles with 2 TFL, Edwards has 27 tackles with 5 TFL and three interceptions and Holland in th secondary has 22 tackles with 1 TFL.
"This is a really good football team," said Freeman. "Two very good running backs where one can go long on any play and the other is such a tough runner. They do a good job with their offensive line. Defense front seven is very good. I thought they were one of the better teams we have played last year."
"Thompson is really, really good at every position," said Floyd. "They are lighting up the scoreboard like they do every year. The receiving core is very, very good. Defensively, they have a great defensive line. Big, strong and athletic. A lot of really good players."