Top-flight Eagles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pop quiz &045; who is in first place in Class 6A, Region 6?

If you said Oak Mountain you’re right.

For some it may be hard to believe, but the Eagles are flying high atop the standings as a result of their 17-2 victory over the Vestavia Hills Rebels.

The win at Heardmont Park put Oak Mountain (3-0, 2-0) just ahead of Hoover and Mountain Brook, who have each played only one region contest.

The Eagles and Rebels both struggled offensively during the first half of Friday’s game.

The Vestavia defense was particularly rough on Oak Mountain quarterback Richie Fordham. He was sacked in the end zone for a safety and threw two interceptions in the first half.

The game changed with about a minute to go in the first half when Daniel Penn picked off a Vestavia pass to give the Eagles the ball on the Vestavia 40-yard line.

&uot;The coaches said we needed a momentum changer,&uot; Penn said after the game. &uot;I saw the ball and broke on it.&uot;

The turnover sparked Fordham and the Eagle offense.

Junior Zack Fowler caught a shuffle pass at the 11-yard line and ran the ball over the goal line for the first touchdown of the game.

&uot;It was wide open, the offensive line did a great job of clearing out,&uot; Fowler said.

The score capped a 57-second drive to close the first half of play.

Oak Mountain was able to keep its momentum in the second half.

Leading by five points, the Eagles drove down the field for their second touchdown with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

Senior James Hope ran the ball in from the two, and Ryan Shoemaker’s extra point widened the margin to 14-2.

But Vestavia wasn’t ready to concede the game.

The Rebels defense was tough and the offense showed occasional spark throughout the fourth quarter.

Any hope for a Vestavia comeback was squashed on consecutive plays with three minutes to go.

On third down and two from their own 36, a Rebel ball carrier was tackled in the backfield by Dan Pierce for a two-yard loss, followed by a sack on fourth down.

After the turnover on downs and a Vestavia penalty, Shoemaker put home a 21-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the game for some insurance.

&uot;This was the first time we ever beat Vestavia&uot; said head coach Jerry Hood, &uot;Our coaching staff, in particular offensive coordinator Chris Love and defensive coordinator John Pledger did a great job preparing the kids this week.&uot;

The Eagles head to Mountain Brook next week for more Region 6 action. The Spartans (2-1, 1-0) are coming off a 34-10 win over Pelham