The #3 Hewitt-Trussville Huskies will travel to #1 Thompson to face the Warriors in a key Class 7A, Region 3 contest Friday night in Warriors Stadium. Both teams are 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the region and have proved they are two of the top teams in Alabama.
There will be all kinds of top talent in this game that will play college football on Saturdays but there might be a few that play on Sundays in the NFL. This might be the most division one prospects that will be on the field at any time between these two teams this season.
Thompson has a 22-game winning streak and the last time that they have lost a game was against Hewitt-Trussville in 2019 when the Huskies defeated the Warriors 35-29. It has been an unbelievable streak that Thompson holds playing in the most competitive region in all classifications.
Hewitt-Trussville has region wins over Spain Park (38-17) and Tuscaloosa County (42-7). "Thompson is one of the most talented teams in the entire country, not just the state," said Huskies head coach Josh Floyd. "Defensively have elite talent at every single level. That is going to be a huge problem for everyone they play."
The Huskies offense is averaging 42.5 points per game and have given up only 12.8 points per game. The Huskies offense is led by senior Cade Ott Carruth. "Confidence has played a big reason for him playing so well this season," added Floyd. "Him being a senior, he knows this system very well. He has confidence in himself and his receivers. He has been very healthy so far this season. He has played well for us." For the season, Carruth has completed 75-of-114 passing for 1,006 yards with seven touchdowns and only one interception. Carruth has offers from Murray State, New Mexico, Jacksonville State, Middle Tennessee State, Gardner Webb, South Alabama
At running back is James Hammonds. "James is off the really good start for us," said Floyd. "He has big time speed and is pretty elite. He is a guy we can throw the ball to out of the backfield and can do a lot of different things for us." Hammonds has rushed for 450 yards on 60 carries for a 7.5 yard per carry average with six touchdowns on the season.
At wide receiver, there are a lot of choices for the Huskies offense. Auburn commit Omari Kelly has 32 receptions for 469 yards and three touchdowns is one of my three top receivers in the 7A. Jordan McCants is another dynamic player with 15 receptions for 238 yards and three touchdowns. McCants has offers from Marshall, Army, Austin Peay, Richmond, North Alabama, Tennessee Martin, Arkansas State, South Alabama and Troy. Also, Ryan Shoop has 10 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown on the season. Kadarius Barnes and tight end Matt Miller play a big part of the Huskies passing game. Miller has offers from South Alabama, Samford, North Alabama, Dartmouth, and Middle Tennessee State. Also, Miller is an outstanding baseball player with a 3.65 GPA that has a fastball in the mid 80's.
The offensive line could be the best in the state and they will need to play that way against the best defense in the state. Offensive lineman Ryan Gunter, Kade Martin, Riley Quick, Trace Wilbanks and Adam Norris have a lot of talent and size. "There are some things they can get better in but overall we have been real pleased with this group," said Floyd. "They have done a good job on helping us be balanced in our run and passing game."
Quick has committed to play baseball at the University of Alabama. Quick had all kinds of football division one offers but turned them down to play baseball only at Alabama. The senior lineman can throw it between 89-92 mph along with his nasty slider he mixes in. Martin is in the 2024 class and at 6-4, 285-pounds, he will get plenty of college offers coming his way. Ryan Gunter stands at 6-6, 300-pounds and has committed to Liberty University back in July. Throw in Maverick McIntyre for depth along the Huskies offensive line.
On defense, the Huskies front seven is special. They can get to the ball with the best of them. It will be interesting to see if both teams can rush the football in this game going up against tough defensive fronts.
At Linebacker, Hunter Jones leads the way with 33 tackles and two tackles for loss this season. "Hunter has played great," added Floyd. "He had a lot of playing time as a sophomore last season and his is one of our leaders on defense." Last year in wrestling, Jones finished the season 30-0 along being the 195-pound state champion.
With him is a tackling machine in Jamarion "Bam" White. White plays all over the field and it one of the leading tacklers on the team. The senior linebacker has 32 tackles, one tackle for loss, an interception and 1.5 sacks on the season. Braylon Chatman is another good linebacker for the Huskies. Look for the junior linebacker to rise up the recruiting seen this season.
The defensive line has a lot of talent, size and speed along with getting off a block with the best of them. Texas commit Justice Finkley leads the way for the Huskies. The senior defensive lineman has 23 tackles, three tackles for loss along with a sack on the season. On texas.rivals.com, Finkley noted that academics, cultural fit, school's nutrition and recovery programs carried a lot of weight in his decision process over Alabama and Colorado. UT's academic reputation played a big part of his decision for Texas along with Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian reaching out to him and his parents only a weekly basis. Texas made Finley a high priority and they found what they wanted in Finkley and they found a good one. He is one of those guys we could see playing in the NFL someday.
With him is Hunter Osborne. The 2023 D-lineman has the size, speed and quickness to get to the ball on any play. Another top player in the state. Osborne has offers from Indiana, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and the list goes on and on. Osborne has made trips to Tuscaloosa and Alabama this season. Another on the defensive front is Tyrell Averhart that leads the team with three sacks on the season. The super sophomore had his first sack against Pinson Valley to start the season. Add in Harrison Asbury and Skyler Carrillo for the Huskies defensive front.
The Huskies secondary will have their hands full with the Warriors receivers. KJ Jackson, Connor Thomas, Dawson Blount, Rickey Gibson and Riggs Dunn will need to play big. Micah Johnson will get playing time in the secondary. Thomas, plays a little offense at running back at times, has an interception on the season. Back in July, Thomas received an offer from Huntingdon College. Jackson has offers from the University of Louisiana, Ole Miss and Akron. Jackson is the quarterback in the secondary and makes sure everything is right for the Huskies secondary.
Thompson comes into the game with some crazy stats on the season. The offense is averaging over 54 points per game and the defense has only given up a field goal in four games. Thompson offense has only played around 10 quarters in those four games scoring 217 points in those quarters. Many of the scoring drives are five or six plays or less. They can score quick and often. This is one of the best defensive rosters all-time in Alabama. "We haven't played any four quarter games yet," said Warriors head coach Mark Freeman. "I'm not sure Hewitt-Trussville have been tested for four quarters like us so you need to have great practices during the week to get ready for our games. We will get our mind right and we approach every region game with the same mind set and that is a compliment to our coaches and players."
The Warriors offense is led by North Carolina commitment Conner Harrell. The senior quarterback has competed 42-of-57 passing for 879 yards with 14 touchdowns and only one interception. Harrell has completed 74 percent of his passes this season. Harrell can make all the throws but if he sees a break in the defense, he can find his way on running the football.
The Warriors receivers are very good and it starts with Ryan Peppins. The Western Kentucky commit has 13 receptions for 336 yards and seven touchdowns. That is 25.8 yards per catch for Peppins. Last year, the senior receiver had over 1,100 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. "Ryan has good football savey," said Freeman. "He has played football for us for a long, long time. I pulled him up after his ninth grade year. He ran a jet sweep in a game and scored on it so we brought him along ever since. He just knows the game. He knows coverages and that is why at the next level he will be so successful. He is so fast and quick, you can't press him. He is going to be a big time player at the next level. Peppins has offers from Liberty, Eastern Kentucky, North Alabama, and Austin Peay. With Kelly, he is one of the best receivers in the state.
With Peppins, the Warriors have Jaylen Ward with his nine catches for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He owns a 27.9 yard per catch average. Ward has the size on smaller defensive backs and can just run by them. Ward has committed to Middle Tennessee State. David Moultry is another big weapon for the offense. He has another gear with his speed and quickness. Moultry has offers from Navy, Yale, Dartmouth, Tennessee Martin, Army, Air Force, and Florida Atlantic.
Wide receiver and running back Justin Pegues is a special team nightmare. He is averaging 28.4 yards per punt return. He has eight receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns on the season. The senior RB/WR is hard to prepare for the defenses trying to defend his speed and quickness. Pegues doesn't carry any offers but can't believe it will end that way when his time is done on the football field this season. He can definitely play at the next level.
The Warriors have a solid ground game. Brandon Franklin, Ahmari Bolden, AJ Green and Lione Cook have carries. Franklin, coming off an injury in week four last year, has played well and has improved his speed in the offseason. "Brandon has worked his tail off," added Freeman. "He has gained speed. He is months ahead of his knee injury and it is phenomenal how fast and strong he is. He is perfect back for the wide zone running back. I'm so happy for him." Franklin holds offers from Navy, Davidson College, Army and Georgetown University. Franklin has 227 yards on 25 carries for a average of 9.1 yards per carry and five touchdowns on the season. WIth him, Bolden has 216 yards on 22 carries for a 9.8 yard per carry average and two touchdowns. Bolden has an offer from Faulkner University. It doesn't matter which of these two running backs are playing for the Warriors because they can get it done with the running game. Jeffrey Kimochu is used as a blocking back for the Warriors.
The offensive line has Cole Hall, Ryan Walker, Noah Watts, Parker Mitchell and Stanton Ramil. Walker is in his first year with the starters. "Ryan is young and I need for him to keep developing as a player," said Freeman. "Plays with a lot of fire. He is our type of player. He is working on his technique to get better. I think he is going to have a great career for us." Ramil has offers from South Florida, Pittsburgh, and Colorado. Ramil has good size and comes off the ball very well. Mitchell has good size and it another power driver for the Warriors. Mitchell has an offer from Tuskegee.
The Warriors defense has been unbelievable this season. The defense has not given up a touchdown all season.
Alabama commitment Jeremiah Alexander leads the way. The senior linebacker has 29 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and three sacks. On the other side is linebacker Peter Woods. Woods has 29 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks. These two are the best players in Alabama. Both players get in opposing backfields and cause serious disruptions for these offenses. Woods has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Ole Miss and others.
Linebackers Jax Van Zandt and Nate Riddle are vital to the defense. Both are very good tacklers and attack the football. Van Zandt is a North Texas commitment. Van Zandt has 21 tackles and five tackles for loss. Riddle has offers from Eastern Kentucky and Tuskegee. Riddle has 19 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks.
Linebacker Seth Hampton gets snaps as he has 24 tackles and five tackles for loss. "Seth has been a phenomenal player for us, we knew what type of player he was coming up," said Freeman. "Seth, Jax and Nate do an incredible job inside that box. To me, you have to have guys that will punish the runner and that is what these three do. They are key for us to have a complete defense. Jeremiah (Alexander) and Peter (Woods) are once in a lifetime players, but you have 11 guys to play defense and the best thing about them, they are coachable." Also, Jake Ivie will get some reps at linebacker.
The front line has some solid run stoppers in Elijah Williams, JaAnthony Allen and Kaleb Thompson. Williams has an offer from Eastern Kentucky.
The secondary has all kinds of cover talent. One of the best is Tony Mitchell. The junior defensive back plays safety and is a big time attacker of the football or can cover a wide receiver on the outside. Mitchell has offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Texas A&M and others. With Mitchell is cornerback Trequon Fegans. Fegans can really blanket your top receiver and take him out of the game. The Miami commitment is one of the best cover guys in Alabama. "You can give Trequon the best receiver on the field," added Freeman. "He is very good, smart player that knows the game."
Cornerback Trevor Hardy is opposite Fegans. Hardy has worked hard on his craft in the off season and looks to have a big season. Most people really know Hardy for his kicking duties as he kicked the game winner in the state championship game last season. Hardy is a Memphis commitment. "Trevor is a big asset that he can also kick for us," said Freeman. "He played defensive back last year but I knew he could kick being a soccer guy and so we needed a kicker and he is doing both for us."
Safety Kaleb Harris was the starting safety against Spain Park and covers a lot of ground with his size and speed. The sophomore DB has a bright future and another football savey player for the Warriors.
The Warriors have plenty of talent in the secondary. Kendall Franklin, Anquon Fegans and A'mon Lane will get reps. Lane, 2024 DB, has offers from Florida A&M, UAB, Auburn, North Texas, Tennessee, Michigan State, Michigan, FSU, Maryland, and Ole Miss. Freshman DB Anquon Fegans has an offer from South Carolina, Miami, Georgia, Florida and Central Florida.
"Hewitt does a great job on offense," said Freeman. "I think the defensive line is the strength of the team. They can make plays in the secondary."
Let us sit back and enjoy all this great talent on the field at Warriors Stadium on Friday night.