Hillcrest Hammers Homewood
On the opening weekend of Alabama high school football the Hillcrest Patriots (1-0, 0-0) traveled to Birmingham to take on the Homewood Patriots (0-1, 0-0).
Both teams started quickly, exchanging opening possession touchdowns. Hillcrest with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Ethan Crawford to J'Quon Sturdivant and Homewood with a Sam Carr 8-yard run. However Hillcrest's ability for explosive plays ultimately propelled them ahead of the home side and allowed them to cruise to a 49-19 victory.
"Offensively, we did have a significant number of explosive plays. I was kind of frustrated that we didn't sustain some of the drives that we ended up having to punt the ball on, so we've got to work on that obviously. Defensively aside from the first drive of the game and the one ball that got thrown over our head, I thought we did a really good job of making them earn everything that they got," said Hillcrest Coach Sam Adams.
Crawford stole the show tonight passing for 224 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another 10 yards and a pair of scores. His touchdowns passes tonight went to three different receivers, Sturdivant on a 56-yard pass, Andre Siler on a 35-yard pass and Anthony Myers on an 82-yard screen pass. The sophomore quarterback already has scholarship offers from Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland according to 247Sports. He displayed excellent poise in the pocket and was able to extend several plays allowing his receiving core to make plays against the Homewood secondary.
"Hillcrest has some difference makers, that's for sure," said Homewood Coach Ben Berguson, "the quarterback's really good at extending plays and it's hard to stay in coverage for that long."
Running back Marcus Wilkins played a complimentary role to Crawford, rushing for 25 yards and a touchdown. In addition to his 73 yards receiving, Sturdivant contributed a 75-yard kickoff return to set the Hillcrest offense up inside the 10-yard line. The Patriots finished off its scoring barrage with a 71-yard touchdown run by Tyler Smith while attempting to run the clock out.
Defensively for the Patriots sophomore Braylon Howard stood out, securing a sack an interception and batting down a ball late in the game.
Homewood utilized two quarterbacks with mixed results, Brode Susce went 13/19 for 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception, Woods Ray went 8/14 for 96 yards with an interception. Len Irvine was the standout Homewood Patriot, making nine receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown.
As for the crowd the Waldrop Stadium had every other row blocked off to ensure social distancing and masks were worn throughout the stadium. Stadium P.A. announcements regarding masks and social distancing were read regularly throughout the evening.
Next week Homewood is off after having their matchup with Vestavia Hills cancelled due to the Rebels dealing with coronavirus. The Homewood Patriots will play McAdory in two weeks.
The Hillcrest Patriots return home next week for their home opener where they will play Tuscaloosa County High in their annual rivalry game. County High defeated Bryant this past week.
"It's a great rivalry that means a whole lot to people in the city of Tuscaloosa. I know, they'll be excited to play us, they are currently, I guess, on a three-game winning streak if you count back to last year so I'm sure their confidence is high and so is ours. We feel real confident about the team that we have, so it'll be a great atmosphere like they always are when Hillcrest and Tuscaloosa County get matched up and let's hope both teams play their very best," said Coach Adams.