Hueytown Hands Hillcrest Its First Loss, 28-24
For the second-straight game for Hillcrest (4-1, 1-1), the final play of the game decided which team was going to be victorious. However, the Patriots felt the sting of defeat after Hueytown (2-3, 2-1) stopped Hillcrest's last-ditch effort to score, holding out to win 28-24.
The Golden Gophers have now won their last three matchups against Hillcrest while also spoiling the Patriots' perfect record.
"Well, I told [Hueytown] that it was going to be a dog fight – I knew watching film," Hueytown head coach Greg Patterson said. "Coach Adams [and his staff] do a wonderful job. The kids play really hard and they're really talented. We really didn't know where we were at."
The Gophers came into Friday night's matchup with three losses, two of which were forfeits due to complications from COVID-19. Patterson said the team's inexperience along with forfeiting the two games significantly set them back.
"It's like we were starting all over again, and then to play a team of this caliber," Patterson said. "We still have kids that weren't in shape...we still got kids not in shape. We just hadn't been able to make up for that time lost."
Hueytown's youth showed at the beginning of the game by way of constant penalties, giving Hillcrest's offense opportunities to score early. In the Patriots' first drive, two Gopher holding penalties kept them alive. However, Hillcrest could only muster up a field goal after a 10-play drive that lasted over four minutes.
"Well I mean, we definitely had plenty of chances to put the game away on the offensive side of the ball and just couldn't finish the job the way that we needed to," Hillcrest head coach Sam Adams said.
Adams said Hillcrest has played in close games before but their inability to capitalize on their opponents' mistakes is what ultimately led to the loss.
Sophomore quarterback Ethan Crawford's arm once again shouldered the offensive load as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. His two favorite targets, senior wide receiver Andre Siler and junior wide receiver Terrence Callaway, combined for all three of Hillcrest's scores and totaled 215 of the Patriots' 302 yards through the air.
Despite Crawford's efforts, Hueytown's junior gunslinger Dave Young was up to the task throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns of his own, including the game winner to senior wide receiver Quindarrius Mayes with just under five minutes left in the game.
"You know, when [Young] really didn't start out that great tonight and struggled a little bit in some areas with some of the stuff that their defense was showing him, missing a few reads," Patterson said. "But he made those adjustments at halftime and [we] simplified a couple of things for him, took a progression to hear away from him so he could, you know, make some easier reason just capitalize."
Young threw three interceptions in the game but was able to right the ship with his arm and his legs. The junior quarterback ran the ball four out of his total 10 times during the game-winning drive. Young's 22-yard scamper gave the Gophers great field positioning to score as they set up right outside Hillcrest's red zone.
Hueytown will travel north to play Athens High School next Friday while Hillcrest has a bye week before they travel to take on Northridge.