By Gary Lloyd
Hewitt-Trussville head football coach Hal Riddle knows about Bob Jones.
He remembers Tyler Whalen, Bob Jones’ quarterback, throwing four touchdown passes and rushing for another in the Patriots’ 35-0 spring game win over Hewitt-Trussville in May. That was one half of varsity play. The Huskies’ junior varsity players won 21-7 in the second half.
The two face off again in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs Friday in Madison.
Bob Jones is 9-1 overall, 6-1 in Class 6A, Region 8. Before it lost its first game of the season to Austin on Oct. 25, Bob Jones was ranked No. 2 in the state. In the last October poll, the Patriots were rated No. 6 in Class 6A.
Bob Jones can seemingly win any type of game. The defense, led by linebacker David Norris, a UAB commitment, and linebacker Nick Holman, a South Florida commitment, can make things tough for opposing offenses. Bob Jones won at Florence 13-7, earlier this season, forcing Florence QB Kendrick Doss, an Ole Miss commit, into three turnovers.
The offense is steady, too. It averaged 33 points per game, led by workhorse running back Jay Rogers. Rogers, as a junior last season, tallied 1,091 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
Hewitt-Trussville isn’t the same team from May. Senior quarterback Blake Bailey has found a groove in the passing game with Riley Stokes, Cyle Moore, DeMarcus Kelly and others, completing 55-of-82 passes for 843 yards and six touchdowns over his past three games. For the season, Bailey has completed 134-of-226 passes for 1,848 yards and 15 TDs. He’s thrown six interceptions.
The defense has allowed about 17 points per game in its last three contests, all wins. It’s coming off its best performance, a 17-14 victory over Gadsden City in which it totaled seven tackles for losses and held the Titans to just 185 total yards.
Senior defensive end Austin Wysor said that game gave the team a lot of confidence heading into Friday’s playoff game. The winner faces the winner of the Oxford-Tuscaloosa County game in the second round.
“I feel like we can beat anybody right now, the way we’re playing,” Wysor said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.