Oak Mountain: A new force in Region 6

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Oak Mountain Eagles will get their shot at a region title this Friday night as they travel to face the Hoover Buccaneers. There’s only one thing standing in their way, however &045; they’re playing the Hoover Buccaneers.

As the Eagles prepare this week, the players know what they’re up against. Less than a week ago, the Bucs silenced a high-powered Pelham Panther offense, winning the game in the first quarter and cruising to a 35-7 win.

&uot;This is a huge game for us,&uot; Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood said. &uot;We’re going to go out there and lay it all on the line.&uot;

While Oak Mountain is guaranteed a spot in the Region 6 playoffs, Hood said his team is not about to slow down.

&uot;We’re just happy to be playing in a game that matters against a team like Hoover,&uot; he said.

Oak Mountain is coming off a 16-14 win over the 1-7 Thompson Warriors Friday night, giving the Eagles their fourth region win of the year and highlighting the teams’ turnaround from a 1-5 Region 6 record in 2004.

The Eagles avenged losses to Spain Park, Vestavia Hills and Pelham this year and set themselves up as a team to beat in the region.

&uot;The team has done a great job listening to us about playing one game at a time,&uot; Hood said. &uot;They’ve been extremely successful at keeping their focus and composure whether we win or lose.&uot;

Oak Mountain was able to recover from a 14-9 deficit in the Thompson game to defeat the Warriors, scoring the winning touchdown in the third quarter on a 26-yard interception return by Trent McKnight.

Eagle running back James Hope carried Oak Mountain’s offense on his back in the game, rushing for 120 yards on 16 carries and a score.

The Warrior’s loss left a sick feeling for Thompson fans, who have seen their team lose 5-of-8 games by four points or less. The Warriors have led in a number of games, but finished out their Region 6 schedule Friday unable to hold on to another lead.

The Warriors and Eagles head in two different directions in week nine as Thompson travels to face non-region opponent Satsuma and the Eagles prepare for their biggest game of the season.

&uot;I believe our guys will stay focused this week,&uot; Hood said.

&uot;It would be nice to come away with a region championship.