By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — Hewitt-Trussville is seeing yellow.
The Huskies struggled with penalties again this Friday and fell to No. 10 Vestavia Hills 14-3 on a wet field at Jack Wood Stadium.
The win is No. 310 of Rebels head coach Buddy Anderson’s career, surpassing Waldon Tucker for the most in Alabama high school football history.
The loss is a tough blow for Hewitt-Trussville, which is now 0-2 in Class 7A, Region 3 and 1-2 overall. Vestavia Hills moves to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the region.
Hewitt-Trussville committed 15 penalties in the game. Three of those penalties were declined and one was an offsetting penalty.
On the first offensive play after Vestavia Hills went up 14-3 with 4:23 to play on a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Landon Crowder, Hewitt-Trussville answered when junior quarterback Zac Thomas connected with Dalton Meadows for a 70-yard score. It was called back due to an ineligible receiver downfield.
“I’m at a loss for words a little bit on the penalties,” said first-year Hewitt-Trussville head coach Josh Floyd.
It seemed as if Hewitt-Trussville shot itself in the foot at the most inopportune times. The Huskies started their third drive of the game from the 50-yard line, but back-to-back penalties eventually led to a punt on fourth and long. On third-and-11 from the Vestavia Hills 26-yard line early in the second quarter, Thomas was called for intentional grounding. The biggest penalty, though, was the ineligible receiver call late in the fourth quarter, much to the dismay of the Hewitt-Trussville coaches on the sideline.
“We’ve got to cut these penalties out,” said senior kicker T.J. McGettigan, whose 28-yard field goal with 11:38 to play accounted for the only Hewitt-Trussville points. “They’re killing us.”
Senior wide receiver Cyle Moore said he thinks the offense’s pace is good.
“I guess it’s just getting caught up in the moment and getting caught thinking about what we’re going to do,” he said.
The game was 0-0 at halftime. Crowder broke the tie when he scored on a three-yard run late in the third quarter. Hewitt-Trussville then responded with a 16-play, 90-yard drive that resulted in McGettigan’s field goal.
For all the offense’s struggles, the Hewitt-Trussville defense “played well enough to win,” Floyd said. He said the offense was “really poor.”
“It’s tough,” Floyd said.
Dylan Cook and Jalen Williams recovered fumbles for the Huskies. Offensively, Thomas rushed 25 times for 77 yards. He completed just 5-of-20 passes for 45 yards. Meadows led the Huskies with three catches for 26 yards.
For Vestavia Hills, Crowder ran the ball 12 times for 84 yards and two scores. Walker Minor rushed 15 times for 42 yards and Carter Jacobs ran 10 times for 49 yards.
Next up for Hewitt-Trussville is a road game at Class 7A No. 3 Spain Park, which dropped a road game at Tuscaloosa County 26-7 on Friday night.
“We’ve got to prepare, get to practice and cut out the penalties,” McGettigan said.
Floyd echoed that.
“We’ve just got to stick together,” he said. “The schedule doesn’t get any easier. Somehow we’ve got to cut down on penalties. We’ve got to figure it out.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.