The big one: Hood, Eagles finally record signature win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Oak Mountain fans still waiting for second-year coach Jerry Hood to record a signature win got what they were looking for Friday night as the Eagles knocked off Spain Park 15-7 at Heardmont Park.

The victory over the Jaguars, who entered the game ranked No. 3 in 6A, was perhaps the biggest win in Oak Mountain’s brief school history.

&uot;You can do everything to prepare to win, but until you do win one like this, it’s not the same,&uot; said Oak Mountain coach Jerry Hood.

&uot;Now you can look back at that defineable moment and say we belong.&uot;

What was once a promising season for the Jaguars took an unexpected detour during their first offensive series of the night.

Star quarterback Neil Caudle went down with a left-knee injury on the Jags’ third play from scrimmage.

Caudle, a highly ranked prospect and early Auburn commitment, was scheduled to undergo surgery this week to repair damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will likely miss the remainder of the season, according to media reports.

The Spain Park signal-caller missed the Jaguars final four games last year after injuring his other knee in a regular season game against Hoover.

While things couldn’t have looked much worse for Spain Park (1-1), Oak Mountain (2-0) took advantage of every opportunity to put away its first Region 6 opponent of the season.

Ryan Shoemaker put the first 3 points on the board for the Eagles with a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Matt Noto recovered an Oak Mountain fumble on the Eagles 14-yard line, which led to Spain Park’s lone score of the game, a one-yard run by Carlos Anderson.

Oak Mountain took over in the second half.

Eagles linebacker Will Pierce penetrated the Spain Park backfield, dropping Jaguar ballcarriers for losses on consecutive plays in the third quarter forcing a punt.

With good field position, the Eagles drove down the field and scored on an eight-yard touchdown throw from Richie Fordham to Kevin Garver.

The key play in the drive belonged to Fordham.

On third down from the 30-yard line, Fordham, who had been under heavy pressure all night, slipped a tackle, scrambled and threw a 17-yard completion to John Cubelic for a first down.

The ensuing Eagle kickoff by Shoemaker went for a touchback (his second of the game and seventh of the season).

Deep in their own territory, a pass from Spain Park quarterback R.J. Varner sailed high and was tipped by his intended receiver into the hands of defender Brett Barnhill.

Oak Mountain cashed in on the turnover, as Shoemaker connected on a 31-yard field goal to put the Eagles up 13-7 in the fourth quarter.

&uot;We worked hard on special teams and snaps all week and it paid off,&uot; Shoemaker said.

Although their on-field leader was sidelined, Spain Park hung in the game.

&uot;Our defense kept us within one score all night,&uot; said coach Vince DiLorenzo.

The offense, however, couldn’t capitalize &045;&045; replacement quarterbacks Varner and Cody Wells were out of sync with their backs and receivers.

The Jags were dealt a final blow when a snap over the head of Spain Park punter Chris Kavenaugh, deep in his own territory, went through the end zone and resulted in a safety.

Oak Mountain will host Vestavia Friday night while the Jags play at Thompson