By Gary Lloyd
GARDENDALE — Hewitt-Trussville missed the Class 6A state playoffs last season for the first time since the 2006 season.
Head football coach Hal Riddle said the players beside him at Jefferson and Shelby County High School Football Media Day — senior running back Peyton Palmer and senior linebacker Hunter Reid — know he was “not really excited about” missing the playoffs.
Riddle said the coaching staff doesn’t “brow beat” the players with the fact that they missed out on playing in November. He’s seen a good response this spring and summer. Reid said the team is a lot more driven this go-around. Palmer said the team does not feel any pressure, just some expectations of reaching the playoffs.
“I think we should be right back in there,” Palmer said.
This year’s team will be faster defensively and will spread the ball around more on offense. Senior defensive end Austin Wysor, who holds offers from Mercer, UAB and Austin Peay, stands out on defense. The coaching staff remains unchanged except for the addition of former Hewitt-Trussville standout wide receiver Lee Guess, who played at Auburn and has returned to coach that group at Hewitt-Trussville.
Riddle said the team’s goals this year include maximizing potential, getting the defense off the field on third down and finishing offensive series with scores.
“The good teams do (finish),” Riddle said.
The ultimate goal?
Playing the first weekend in December for a state championship.
“We would like to have an obligation (that weekend),” Riddle said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.