Turnovers costly for Huskies in loss to Rebels
By Philip Gibson
Hewitt-Trussville was its own worst enemy at Vestavia Hills on Friday night, serving up three turnovers that led to touchdowns in a 24-3 Rebels win on Buddy Anderson Field at Thompson Reynolds Stadium.
“It was like a faucet running full bore tonight,” said Huskies coach Hal Riddle. “We’re going to have a hard time being successful if we don’t get that fixed.”
The Rebels (2-0, 1-0 Class 6A, Region 6) were opportunistic early, opening the scoring when Vestavia defensive end Dalton Campbell scooped up a fumbled snap by senior quarterback Blake Bailey and returning it 27 yards for a touchdown at the 1:12 mark of the first quarter. Later in the first half, the Huskies squandered a field goal opportunity when another bad snap sailed past junior place-kicker Thomas McGettigan.
The Rebels ended the first half with a 79-yard drive that culminated in a field goal to push the home team’s lead to 10-0 at the break. Vestavia junior running back Christian Palmer led the Rebels’ rushing attack in the half, gaining 70 yards on 12 rushes. Palmer finished the game with 79 yards on 14 carries.
“They do a tremendous job up front,” Riddle said. “If you don’t have people at the point of attack, and he gets through the front line, he knows what to do with it.”
The Huskies (0-2, 0-1) continued their turnover woes in the second half. Their first drive seemed promising, but another fumble gave the Rebels the ball at midfield. Two plays later, Vestavia Hills senior running back Jordan Johnson broke loose for a 36-yard scoring run to make it 17-0 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
The Huskies looked to climb back into the game on the next drive, but had to settle for a 43-yard McGettigan field goal to make it a 17-3 game.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Huskies caught a break when they recovered a fumble at their own 3-yard-line. On the very next play, however, the Rebels’ Daniel Burton picked off Bailey and returned it 8 yards for a final touchdown at the 4:11 mark to seal the win.
The Huskies will look to get back on track next week when they face Woodlawn at home in another region game. They’ll look to tighten things up offensively between now and then.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Riddle said. “Defensively our kids are playing hard, but the offense put them in the hole several times. We’ve got to get that stopped.”
The win was the 299th of Rebels coach Buddy Anderson’s career. His first chance at 300 comes against Huffman next week.