By David Knox, Sports Editor
TRUSSVILLE — Hewitt-Trussville, rolling toward its best start in almost 30 years, hosts Huntsville in a Class 7A, Region 4 game Friday at Hewitt-Trussville Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The Huskies (8-0, 5-0) started the 1987 season 9-0 before losing its regular-season finale. They can match that start — they also started the 1986 season 9-0 before losing — their best start ever in school history by beating the visiting Panthers (2-5, 1-4). The Huskies’ most wins in a season is 12 in 1992.
On paper, this should be nothing but a tuneup for the Huskies ahead of next week’s showdown with James Clemens, which should decide the region champion. The Panthers’ two wins have come over winless region foe Grissom and winless Class 6A Columbia. They lost to James Clemens 55-8 last week.
The Panthers are 3-0 all-time versus Hewitt, but the last meeting was in the third round of the 2008 Class 6A playoffs.
The Panthers’ main offensive threat is quarterback Matthew Nowlin, who accounted for five touchdowns against Grissom. At 6-feet, 197 pounds, he might be a little undersized to play FBS football, but he has an ACT of 31 and a 1400 SAT. He’s got decent arm strength and good accuracy. He’s also burned teams with his running.
The Huskies overcame a sluggish start to win its final road game of the regular season at Harvest versus Sparkman, leading 14-7 at the half before pulling away to the 42-14 win.
“I think once we settled down we started playing better,” coach Josh Floyd said. “I’m not making excuses, but you know you come up here, drive 2 1/2 hours and just got to get off the bus and play, and we’ve got to get better at doing that. We’re still getting used to this new region, but at the end of the day our guys found a way to win and that’s all that matters.”
The Huskies swept their four road games, including three in the region. They won at Nashville, Tenn., at New Market, at Gadsden and at Harvest. The 45-minute drive to Gadsden was the shortest trip of the season. Next year, the Huskies will travel to Bradenton, Fla., for a rematch with Manatee, and to Madison twice and Huntsville twice in region play.
A win over Huntsville and a likely James Clemens win over Buckhorn would leave Hewitt at 6-0 and the Jets at 5-1. The winner of the Huskies-Jets meeting on Oct. 21 would determine the region champion. Bob Jones (5-3, 3-2) was upset by Gadsden City last week, eliminating the Patriots from a chance at the region title.
“We feel good where we’re at,” Floyd said. “Our goal is to win a championship in the region. We’ve got two more games and we’ve just to take them one game at a time, and I think our guys have down a good job of that throughout the year. We’ve got to get better, got to do a better job and get better every week.”