By Kyle Parmley
TRUSSVILLE – Hewitt-Trussville had some trouble finishing the game strong, but walked away from the field on Friday night with a 35-17 win over Class 7A, Region 3 foe Thompson at Hewitt-Trussville Stadium.
“We’ve got to do a better job of finishing off a game,” Hewitt-Trussville head coach Josh Floyd said. “We had opportunities. We made a couple of mistakes in the second quarter, where it could’ve been 28-0 or 35-0 at the half. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t do that, but hey, it’s a region win and we’re fired up.”
One of those mistakes in the second quarter came after the Huskies recovered a fumble at the Thompson 30-yard-line after a kickoff. They drove to the 14, but Zac Thomas threw across his body – a cardinal sin for quarterbacks in the red zone – and was intercepted by KJ Robertson.
Thompson attempted to make a game of it in the third quarter, after going into the break trailing 21-0. In the midst of a torrential pop-up rain shower, the Warriors scored on a throwback pass from two yards out from wide receiver Jordan Haywood to quarterback Walker Lott in the end zone.
The Huskies had nothing to worry about, however, as they still had Cash left in the bank.
Grayson Cash picked up the ensuing kickoff and did the rest, rumbling 80 yards down the left side of the field to crush any momentum the Warriors had.
“The kickoff return was probably the biggest (play) in the game,” Floyd said. “They obviously had the momentum after a long drive and for him to respond like that; it was a big time play.”
“We had a regular return on and I saw the ball and I saw the seam. We had great blocks and I just hit it,” Cash said of the return.
Cash was all over the place the entire night, contributing in all facets of the game – offense, defense, and special teams. Aside from the kickoff return touchdown, he broke up a pass on defense, recovered a fumble on special teams, and gained 21 yards on six touches on the offensive side of the ball.
“Grayson Cash is a football player. That’s what I tell everybody. If you put him at quarterback, he could play quarterback,” Floyd said.
The Warriors refused to die, as the Huskies never quite put the game on ice until a time-chewing drive late in the fourth quarter.
“We told them at halftime to just go play the second half,” Thompson head coach Mark Freeman said. “We had the ball four drives and we scored three of those four drives. We’ve got to remember what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to build and at the same time win games.”
After an easy 41-7 victory over Thompson last season, Hewitt-Trussville had a much tougher battle on its hands with Freeman leading the Warrior program in his first season.
“It’s a totally different program this year,” Floyd said. “Coach Freeman has done a great job. He’s going to get them rolling. They’ve got some players over there.”
Running back Jarrion Street had another electric night, getting the Huskies on the board first and never looking back. The Ole Miss commit totaled 125 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. He was a bruiser near the goal line as well, scoring his touchdowns on runs of three, two, and two yards.
Seth Keahey stepped up on the defensive side of the ball, picking off a pass from Lott in the second quarter, setting up one of Street’s scores.
Ed Johnson caught a six-yard touchdown from Thomas on a rollout play in the first quarter, and was the first varsity score of Johnson’s career.
Carlos Stephens had a great night on the ground for Thompson, picking up 112 yards on 15 carries. Backup running back Frank Mwakajumba scored in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard dash.
In lieu of the scoreline, both defenses made things tough on the offenses, especially through the air. Thompson passed for just 32 yards, and Hewitt-Trussville accumulated 80 yards through the air. The Huskies picked up 322 total yards on the night, thanks to 242 yards on 54 total rushes.
Despite the success on the ground, Floyd called Thompson’s defensive line the best his team has played all season. He had high praise for the Warrior defense as a whole as well.
“Their defense is really good this year. You have to earn every yard, and we saw that tonight,” he said.
As he was walking off the field, Floyd mentioned that a win is a win, especially when it means improving to 4-1 in region play.
“I think it’s so tough every week. We’ll have to bring it again next week,” he said.
Hewitt-Trussville hosts Mountain Brook next Friday night in another region contest. Thompson plays Tuscaloosa County at home for its senior night.