By Phil Gibson
“I’m proud of them for fighting back,” Hewitt-Trussville head coach Hal Riddle said. “Tonight the kids were able to respond. You gotta have that ‘we believe’ and they did. It didn’t turn out positive for us tonight, but I’ll take that.”
After climbing back from a halftime deficit to take a fourth quarter lead, the Homecoming loss was that much more heartbreaking for Hewitt-Trussville High School. The Huskies fell 29-28 against the Shades Valley Mountaineers at Jack Wood Stadium after a last chance field goal barely missed the uprights in the final seconds of the game.
The Huskies started the game slow in the first half, falling to a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter as the Mounties were able to get quick touchdowns their first two possessions. In the second quarter, the Huskies were finally able to sustain a drive, using seven plays to move 66 yards and finishing with a 3-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Peyton Palmer to close within seven points.
On their next drive, Shades Valley stalled out on the Huskies’ 11-yard line and kicked a 28-yard field goal to make the game 17-7. The Mounties seemed to be on the move again late in the half before an interception by senior defensive back Bailey Cash, and the Huskies went into the locker room with a ten point deficit.
The Huskies came out strong in the second half, scoring on their first possession with an 80-yard, 11 play drive that ended with a 6-yard dash by senior running back Donovan Miller into the end zone. After holding the Mounties to a 38-yard field goal on their next possession, the Huskies were in position to take the lead for the first time in the game. One their next drive, a fourth down double pass play ended with junior receiver Riley Stokes completing a 33-yard touchdown pass to fellow junior receiver DeMarcus Kelley, and it seemed like the momentum had finally shifted in the Huskies’ favor.
The Huskies’ defense forced a three and out on the Mounties’ next possession, then scored on four straight rushing plays ending with a 14-yard touchdown run from senior Dakota Harwell into end zone. After another Mountie’s three and out, the Huskies’ seemed to be in control with a 28-20 lead and six minutes left in the game. However, an illegal substitution call backed Hewitt-Trussville up to their own 5-yard line and, on the next play, the Mounties’ defense wrestled Harwell down for a safety. A quick touchdown on the ensuing kick gave Shades Valley a one point lead with just over three minutes to play. The Huskies had one more chance to win the game, but couldn’t convert a 32-yard field goal with two seconds left on the clock.
“We got down there and we had a chance,” Riddle said. “I hate it for (senior kicker) Griffin Wright because he’s a great kid and a talented young man, but he’ll be alright.”
Hewitt Trussville falls to 3-3 (2-2 in region play), but is still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot. The next three weeks will have a huge impact on their post-season aspirations, as the Huskies will finish regional play against Mountain Brook High School (6-0, 3-0), Gardendale High School (3-3, 1-3) , and Huffman High School (2-4, 1-3)
. They travel to Mountain Brook to face off against the undefeated Spartans next Friday night.