Huskies build lead and hold off upset-minded Sparkman
By David Knox
TRUSSVILLE — No. 4-ranked Hewitt-Trussville built what seemed like its ordinary comfortable lead Friday night, but it took a fourth-quarter display of muscle to hold off No. 10-ranked Sparkman on Husky Field inside Hewitt-Trussville Stadium.
Thanks to a pair of touchdowns passed by Paul Tyson early and some physical running late by Cameron Bledsoe and Elliott McElwain, the Huskies posted a 34-27 win over the Senators, all but sealing a region crown.
Hewitt (7-0 overall, 5-0 in Class 7A, Region 4) withstood the efforts in the second half by quarterback Devin Kimbrough to thwart the upset. Sparkman fell to 5-2, 3-2.
“I told the guys, ‘This is 7A football,’ ” head coach Josh Floyd said. “’You’ve got to be fired up after a win.’ Obviously, as coaches, it’s not going to be too much fun for us to watch the film with the guys, because there’s a lot of mistakes, too many penalties. I thought that was the difference in us not scoring 50 points.”
The Huskies left points on the field for one of the few times this season. They scored on five of six drives in the first half, but twice were held to field goals.
In the second half, Hewitt scored on just one drive. One ended on downs, one on a punt and one on a fumble.
“We’ve got to learn from that and clean it up,” Floyd said.
Tyson connected with Logan Pitts for a 48-yard score with 10:59 left in the opening period, then found Lee Reagan for a 7-yard score on the next drive.
After Kimbrough scored on a 51-yard run midway in the fourth, Tyson led Hewitt on a drive that culminated with Parker Colburn’s 27 yard-field goal to begin the second quarter.
The Huskies grabbed a 24-6 lead when Tyson delivered a beautifully executed screen to McElwain, who bolted 25 yards for a score with 7:56 left before half.
The Husky defense mostly kept Kimbrough and backfield mates Christopher Sledge-Joiner and Hunter Gibson in check for the rest of the half, and Tyson maneuvered the Huskies to another Colburn field goal, this one 42 yards, as the half expired.
HT led 27-6 at the break.
After a three-and-out, Hewitt seemingly put it away on a 59-yard drive. Tyson hit Pitts for 11 yards, but most of it was on the ground. Bledsoe had the scoring run, going 25 yards on third-and-5, to push the lead to 34-6 with Colburn’s extra point.
But Kimbrough broke free for a 66-yard run to the 14 and scored on an 11-yard scamper to cut the margin to 34-13 with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
Hewitt looked like it would score immediately after George Steele brought the kickoff deep into Sparkman territory, but the Senators held on fourth down.
After an exchange of punts, Kimbrough broke free again for a 56-yard run, setting Sparkman up at the Hewitt 23. Sledge-Joiner crashed in from the 5 to make it a 34-20 game with Mile Tillman’s extra point with 11:31 to play.
Hewitt attempted to put the game away, but lost a fumble at the Sparkman 19. Kimbrough blazed 44 yards into the end zone and Tillman’s extra point cut it to 7 with 4:13 to play.
That’s where the Hewitt offensive muscle kicked in for one last drive, as it moved some 42 yards to kill the clock. McElwain had six rushes for 21 yards and Bledsoe had a tough third-and-6 run for the final first down. Tyson had a key 16-yard connection through the air.
“Elliott’s a guy that we can count on, a big strong kid and sometimes you’ve got to grind out a big first down.
“I don’t like the way we played, but I think it’s maybe good for our team,” Floyd said.
With the win, Hewitt is now 5-0 and in first place in Region 4. Sparkman and Bob Jones are both at 3-2 after the Pats beat Gadsden City, so Hewitt can do no worse than tie for the region title with two games remaining since the Huskies own the tiebreakers.
Hewitt-Trussville should lock up the region next Friday with a win in Huntsville against the Panthers.