Helena falls to Hillcrest as season ends in second round

Published 12:21 am Saturday, November 18, 2023

By NIC YOUNG | Special to the Reporter

TUSCALOOSA – Helena’s turnover woes halted their offense productivity as the Huskies fell to the Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa Patriots 42-7 in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs on Nov. 17.

Helena found themselves in a hole early as a penalty on the game’s opening kick-off put the Huskies at their own 12-yard line.

Things quickly took a turn for the worst as a fumble in the endzone was recovered by Hillcrest, producing the game’s first score to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

The next Husky drive began at their own 11-yard line with a promising start. Helena moved up to the Hillcrest 45-yard line before an offensive miscue resulting in a fumble put them behind the sticks. The Huskies never recovered and were forced to punt shortly after.

Hillcrest made quick work of their next drive, finding the end zone in two plays with Decorrion Thomas delivering the score off a 40-yard touchdown run to extend the Patriots’ lead, 14-0.

As the first quarter approached the end, Jordan Washington provided the Helena offense with a much-needed spark running for an 86-yard touchdown to cut the Patriots’ lead 14-7.

The Huskies defense began the second quarter strong, halting the Patriots’ offense and forcing punts on consecutive possessions.

This trend seemed as though it would continue as a series of penalties put the Patriots in a 1st-and-34 situation, but a 40-yard pass from Bryson Kimbrough to Chemar Moore swung all of the momentum into the Patriots’ favor.

Hillcrest would get the score a few plays later off a Kimbrough touchdown run to make the game’s score 21-7 as the half rounded to a close.

Neither team could get their offense going to begin the second half, with both sides conceding punts in every possession of the third quarter.

The Patriots opened the fourth quarter with a quick score from Kahden Smith to give them a commanding 28-7 lead.

The following Helena possession was cut short due to a recovered fumble by the Patriots. This opened the door for Hillcrest to drive down the field and add to their lead as Kimbrough connected with Jamarcus Price making the score 35-7.

Ball security issues continued to plague the Huskies the following possession, this time the result was a scoop and score by the Patriots to close the door and give them a 42-7 lead.

The Huskies finish the season 9-3 overall with a 5-1 region record after making the second round for the first time since 2020 and finishing in second place in the region.