Friday Feature: Huskies travel to No. 2 Clay-Chalkville
By Gary Lloyd
Thirty points in a single quarter killed Hewitt-Trussville’s belief a year ago.
Leading rival Clay-Chalkville 10-7 at halftime of last season’s Paws and Claws Bowl, Hewitt-Trussville came out relatively flat in the third quarter. Clay-Chalkville took advantage, pouring on 30 points in the third quarter and adding two long scoring runs by Stephone Sheffield in the fourth quarter. The Cougars won the most lopsided game in the rivalry’s 15-year history 51-10.
Clay-Chalkville leads the all-time series 10-6. The Cougars have won 11 of the 16 games on the field, but the 31-15 victory over Hewitt-Trussville in 2011 was vacated due to an ineligible player violation. The last time Hewitt-Trussville won a game on the field was in 2008, when it won 21-7.
Eight games have been decided by a touchdown or less, while the margin of victory in the other eight games is 23.6 points. Not including the 2011 vacated game, Clay-Chalkville has averaged 28.8 points in its wins and held Hewitt-Trussville to an average of 11.1 points per game. In the five games Hewitt-Trussville has won on the field, it has averaged 20.8 points per game and held the Cougars to 13.4 points per matchup.
The past is the past. Close games in the past don’t matter, nor do the not-so-competitive contests. What matters are these teams and this game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at Cougar Stadium.
Clay-Chalkville is ranked No. 2 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 6A poll, behind just Hoover, and is projected to have one of the best offenses in the state. Senior quarterback Hayden Moore is a Cincinnati commitment that has an arsenal of offensive weapons on the outside and in the backfield with senior running back Sidney Battle, junior running back Terrelle West and others.
The Cougar defense returns just three starters and is young, some inexperience Hewitt-Trussville may be able to zero in on. Senior defensive tackle Jalen Harvey is a force in the middle.
Hewitt-Trussville is also inexperienced. The offense is equipped with all new starters at the skill positions and will run plays at a quicker clip this season. Keeping the Clay-Chalkville defense off balance and not turning the football over will be keys. Hewitt-Trussville’s defense will be tested by the potent Clay-Chalkville offense. Senior defensive end Austin Wysor and other Husky defenders must be able to get off the field on third downs.
The most hyped game on both schedules doesn’t matter to the players.
“It really doesn’t matter if it’s the last game or the first game,” Moore said.
Hewitt-Trussville senior running back Peyton Palmer agreed.
“I think that both communities always have a lot of energy coming into the game, because it’s usually a pretty good game,” Palmer said. “Everybody comes out and supports us.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.