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Friday Feature: Huskies open season with Gardendale

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — How do you prepare for a team with a first-year coach?

You trace back your ties.

Second-year Gardendale head football coach Matt Plunkett spent some time recruiting the northwest Arkansas area when he was a Division II coach. He drove every interstate, saw teams from Bentonville, Ark., to Little Rock, Ark. He saw Shiloh Christian, where first-year Hewitt-Trussville head football coach Josh Floyd used to coach. Plunkett knows Floyd’s hurry-up, no-huddle offense.

Hewitt-Trussville junior quarterback Zac Thomas
file photo by Ron Burkett

“Very quality opponent early,” Plunkett said. “That could be a huge game for us.”

Gardendale is still a Class 6A team, in Region 6. Hewitt-Trussville is now a Class 7A, Region 3 team. The two were in the same region a season ago, and Hewitt-Trussville drilled the Rockets 33-14, a big win that ultimately led to the Huskies making the playoffs and Gardendale being left out.

Plunkett said there’s a lot of excitement surrounding Hewitt-Trussville football right now, with a new coach and system.

“They’re going to be great competition,” he said.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Jack Wood Stadium.

Hewitt-Trussville looked impressive in its jamboree last week, defeating Fairfield 31-6 and Center Point 21-8. Gardendale shut out Mortimer Jordan 21-0 in its jamboree. Floyd said Gardendale is big in the trenches.

“They’re a good football team,” Floyd said of Gardendale. “It’s going to present a big challenge because their O-line, D-line are pretty stinking big.”

Both teams went 5-5 in the regular season last year. Starting out a season on a winning note is key, said Floyd, who could earn win No. 1 at Hewitt-Trussville and win No. 100 overall Friday.

“Obviously, just winning the next game would be awesome,” he said.

Gardendale’s coaches and players will feel the same way.

“We’ll be ready come Aug. 29,” Plunkett said.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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