By Kyle Parmley
TRUSSVILLE – There is always the natural tendency to focus on offensive accomplishments.
The media is to blame for this. The high-powered offenses are to blame. The video game-like yardage and points teams put up is to blame.
Hewitt-Trussville (2-1) even has an offensive-minded head coach in Josh Floyd. The second-year man played his high school football in Arkansas under offensive guru – and now Auburn head coach – Gus Malzahn.
The Huskies offense put up 38 points against Tuscaloosa County last Friday night on 349 yards rushing. Running back Jarrion Street and quarterback Zac Thomas had big nights. But enough about the offense.
“Our defense came out and played very well,” Street said. “I think they stepped up and accepted the challenge.”
That Hewitt-Trussville defense is the reason the game was never truly in doubt in the second half. The Huskies held Tuscaloosa County to just 254 yards total on the night and a mere 62 yards passing (36 of those came on a touchdown pass late in the game).
“Our defense played really well. I’m proud of our kids. They made some big stops there in the first half,” Floyd said.
Jaison Williams decided to wreak havoc on the game in the fourth quarter. Immediately following a Husky score to extend the lead to 31-7, Williams made sure to consolidate the momentum. He recorded a sack on first down, and blasted into the backfield on the next two plays to disrupt Tuscaloosa County and force a punt.
Williams, a senior defensive lineman, finished the night with eight tackles, two for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a quarterback hurry. His performance was enough to earn him Tribune Sports Live Player of the Week honors.
“Jaison is a stud,” Street said. “He’s very underrated. He’s one of the best defensive ends in the state. I think he’s going to keep improving game after game.”
Williams was only doing his job in his mind, something Hewitt-Trussville hopes he continues as the season progresses.
“I just went out and did my thing,” he said.
Williams did not have the only highlights of the night for the defense. In the second quarter, Tuscaloosa County held the momentum following a Husky turnover on a trick play. The Wildcats scored after the interception and forced Hewitt-Trussville to punt on the next possession. The visitors could tie or take the lead with a touchdown, but the Huskies had other ideas.
On the first play of the drive, junior defensive lineman Christian Smith broke through the line and pulled running back Frederick Evans down for a three-yard loss. Two plays later, Tuscaloosa County faced a 3rd-down-and-13 situation. They attempted a screen pass to Evans, which linebacker Bailey McElwain stoned for just a one-yard gain.
Smith would tack on a sack in the third quarter and sophomore linebacker Simon Miskelley recovered a fumble in the final period.
Tuscaloosa County head coach Lee Gibson had high praise for the Husky defensive unit, calling McElwain and Williams two of the best in-the-box defenders his team will face all season.
“They’ve got a really good defense. A lot of credit goes to them,” he said.
Linebacker Jalen Williams (no relation to Jaison) wants teams to realize that the Huskies are not just an offensive team.
“We were trying to prove a statement that we’re coming this year and that we’re actually a solid defense,” he said.
Mission accomplished, as Hewitt-Trussville opened region play with a convincing win. The Huskies play in one of the toughest regions in the state, making each win vital for their playoff hopes.
The Huskies take to the road on Friday night to face another region foe in Vestavia Hills.