By Gary Lloyd
This isn’t your typical Shades Valley team.
The Mounties are a top-10 team in Class 6A, have a record of 5-0, are averaging 40 points per game and are allowing just 16 points per game.
The last time Shades Valley was 5-0 was 1994, when current team members were not yet born. The Mounties that season reeled off 14 straight wins before losing 16-14 to Anniston in the state championship game.
Shades Valley last season was a 5-6 team, a vast improvement over its 1-9 team in 2010 and 2-8 team in 2011 (one win was due to a Clay-Chalkville forfeit).
Hewitt-Trussville (2-3, 2-1 Class 6A, Region 6) travels to Irondale to take on the surprising Mounties (5-0, 3-0) on Friday. Kickoff at Shades Valley is set for 7 p.m.
Shades Valley is led by offensive standout Keith Mixon, who gets it done rushing and receiving. In the season opener against Oak Mountain, Mixon had 159 receiving yards and 89 rushing yards. He had 241 total yards against Mountain Brook and 201 total yards — 165 rushing — at four scores last week at Thompson. Quarterback Rashad Louie is one of the more efficient signal callers in the Birmingham area.
This game last season was a nail-biter that helped Shades Valley into the Class 6A playoffs and kept Hewitt-Trussville out. Hewitt-Trussville missed a field goal with two seconds remaining to fall 29-28 at Jack Wood Stadium. The Huskies had scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to take a 28-20 lead before a Shades Valley safety and 20-yard touchdown pass from Louie to Grant Simmons with 3:35 to play.
If slowing down this Shades Valley offense isn’t difficult enough for Hewitt-Trussville, gaining yards and points will be. Four-star junior Daron Payne, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound behemoth of a defensive tackle, mans the middle for Shades Valley. He will make it difficult for Hewitt-Trussville to run between the tackles. Payne already has scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and others.
Hewitt-Trussville will need to contain Mixon and sustain long scoring drives offensively with quick passes and runs to the edges to have a chance in the fourth quarter.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.