By Bobby Mathews, sports editor
TRUSSVILLE — Hewitt-Trussville sophomore quarterback Peyton Floyd helped the Huskies pull away from a pesky Spain Park team Friday night with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Omari Kelly.
It was a big-time throw, too. Floyd hit Kelly in stride, with the ball dropping right into Kelly’s pocket the moment the Auburn commit broke open. Floyd’s father, Huskies’ head coach Josh Floyd, was understandably proud of the moment.
The elder Floyd paused for a moment and then grinned. “Of course it helps when you’re throwing to Omari Kelly, too.”
It certainly does. Hewitt-Trussville looked like they were going to run away with things early on against the Jaguars, but then they spent much of the second and third quarters mired against a Jags run game that was eating clock and yards. It didn’t help that they lost linebacker Bam White for the second half with a leg injury, although fellow senior Dawson Blount came on in relief and had a heck of a game, with two sacks and a fumble recovery.
It looked like the Huskies took their foot off the gas a little bit when they went up 14-0 with the first quarter not even half over. Give credit to Spain Park, though: They fought back and had a decent showing. In the end, there were just too many weapons for the Huskies. Hewitt-Trussville can’t afford to let teams hang around in 7A Region 3. The talent pool is just too deep. The Huskies host Tuscaloosa County next week before traveling to Alabaster to play top-ranked Thompson.
How ’bout them Blue Devils? Moody is 3-0 for the first time since 1996, and their closest game has been a 20-point win against John Carroll a week ago. The Blue Devils absolutely demolished Hayden, 43-12. A.J. Wallace looks as good as advertised, and Davion Dozier is a threat every time he gets his hands on the ball.
Nick Burrell is consistent running the ball, and he’s enough of a workhorse that he can carry the ball 20 to 25 times a game. But it’s the unsung heroes of every successful football program who are powering a lot of the Blue Devils’ success. The offensive line is protecting Wallace, and they’re opening canyon-sized holes for Burrell to run through. The defense started out good, and has gotten better every week, too.
Bottom line: Moody isn’t just beating teams this season. They’re blowing people out. Through the first three games, the Blue Devils have outscored their opponents 126 to 54. This has to feel like vindication for the kids who have suffered through last season’s winless campaign.
The Blue Devils are now up for their first major test, as they travel to Leeds this Friday for a 5A Region 6 matchup.
Speaking of the Green Wave, those young men had to dig deep to gut out a victory against Lincoln. It was a hard-hitting, sometimes ugly win for Leeds, and the teams kept pace with one another for much of the night. As our man in Leeds, Will Heath, reported: Jerry Hood’s masterful use of the clock in the waning moments of the game preserved the win for the Green Wave.
This is a team with a quarterback, Jarod Latta, who has good touch on the ball, and explosive athletes in Josh Ruff and C.J. Douglas. Rametrius Yelverton is the best running back in the area that no one is talking about. Kavion Henderson is always going to be a factor on the defensive line, and his play opens up opportunities for guys like Tucker Summers and Cody Saulisbury to wreak havoc along the line.
This week’s matchup between Leeds and Moody is compelling, if for no other reason than the defensive line of the Green Wave is going to come up against its toughest test yet when they clash with the Blue Devils O-line. Another key matchup to watch: C.J. Douglas won’t be covering Davion Dozier man-to-man in the defensive backfield much, but any receiver crossing the field better have his head on a swivel, because Douglas is a hard, hard hitter.
There’s no way to pick a winner in this one. Moody has the firepower, but Leeds is a bunch of scrappers who have been battle-tested.
If it’s possible for the reigning state champions to go under the radar, that’s what 6A Pinson Valley is doing. They just beat a pretty good Gardendale team, taking every shot the Rockets had and not backing down a step. I said this on Tribune Sports Live last week, but I’m not sure you can bet against the Indians as long as Zach Pyron is in the game. The senior quarterback is dangerous with his arm and his legs, and — like all great quarterbacks — he’s got a way of making things happen when his team needs it.
Pyron’s got weapons, too. Jaylen Taylor looks like a Mack truck running the ball, and “Iron” Mike Sharpe runs hard and mean, too. Both are capable of breaking the big play, while Amare Thomas is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the rock.
Pinson Valley’s lone loss is their season opener against Hewitt-Trussville. They’re ranked No. 3 in 6A, and that seems punitive to me. Pinson Valley trucked Shades Valley last week 49-0 and won their first region game this week. In my opinion, the reigning 6A champs are No. 1 until someone dethrones them. The road to a state championship runs through Pinson Valley, and that’s the fact, Jack.
In this column, I try to offer what I think is entertaining and reasonable analysis of teams in The Tribune’s coverage area. When it comes to Clay-Chalkville, I don’t even have words. I think my exact phrase when tweeting out the in-progress scores on Friday night was “Great googly moogly.” Words are my game.
Edward Osley is a great running back. Khalib Johnson is a great quarterback. Marquarius White is an incredible athlete that any coach would love to have. Are you sensing a pattern here? Clay-Chalkville’s starting 11 is stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, and they play fast and hit hard. They’re going to be tough for anyone to stop.
The offensive line has allowed the Cougars to pretty much do whatever they wanted to do over the first three games of the season. The one sliver of hope that opponents have is that there seems to be a notable drop-off in talent level between the first-teamers and the substitutes. This makes it imperative for the Cougars to stay injury-free. If they can do that, there’s no reason why we won’t see Clay-Chalkville make a deep run in the 6A playoffs.
It was tough sledding for the Tigers (1-1) against a pretty good Cherokee County team. That said, Springville had its chances. The Tigers are going to see some growing pains this season, but here’s the thing: Jon Clements is a heck of a coach, and he knows what it takes to win football games. The Tigers have a new head coach, new offensive and defensive coordinators, and a new quarterback.
That’s a lot of change in a small timeframe. There’s still a lot to like about Springville, and an improvement on last year’s four-win season is not only possible, it’s likely. When Asa Morrison gets more comfortable and that big offensive line starts opening more holes for Ashton Frye and Patrick Bennett, the Tigers are going to rack up some wins.
It seems pretty clear that the Eagles (1-2, 01) are in a rebuilding year after going 7-5 last season. I think the hopes were higher in the preseason for Center Point, but those hopes haven’t materialized into wins early this season. During the Eagles’ loss to Alexandria, Jabari Collier was moved from quarterback to wide receiver/running back, and that may end up being a good thing.
Collier is a good athlete and can have a positive impact on the game, but it’s Troy Bruce who’s the straw that stirs the drink for Center Point. He had nearly 200 yards rushing — most of that in the second half when Alexandria was playing their second string — but he’s fast, and he runs with his pads low to the ground. If the offensive line can impose their will against opposing defenses, there’s still time to rescue the season.
Center Point head coach George Bates has a reputation for building strong programs. I have no doubt that he’s building something great with the Eagles. It’s may just take more time than he expected.