Eagles’ mistakes prove costly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Before Friday Night’s contest at the Hoover Met, speculation was that the Oak Mountain Eagles had the talent to unseat the Hoover Buccaneers for the Region 6 title; but they had to execute a nearly flawless game.

Six turnovers later, Oak Mountain found itself at the wrong end of a 38-21 score.

Eagle quarterback Richie Fordham started the game on fire.

The first play of the game was a 52-yard completion to wideout John Cubelic down the right sideline.

Four plays later, Fordham threw a fade to Cubelic in the back right corner of the end zone for a 12-yard score to go ahead by a touchdown, only two minutes and 15 seconds into the game.

Showing why they are one of the top teams in the country, Hoover came right back down the field. It took only 2:12 for the Bucs to tie the score when Cornelius Williams took a crossing pass from Ross Wilson and went 19-yards to score. Then the train came off the tracks for the Eagles.

The usually reliable James Hope fumbled the ball on the first play of Oak Mountain’s next series to put Hoover

deep in Eagle territory at the 38-yard line. Wilson cashed the turnover in with a three-yard quarterback keeper to put the Bucs up 14-7 with 5:33 remaining in the first quarter.

A bad kickoff return gave the Eagles a first down from their own 11-yard line. This time Oak Mountain got three plays off before an errant shotgun snap sailed over Fordham’s head into the end zone and was recovered by Hoover for a touchdown.

Oak Mountain was down but not out, when they took over the ball at the 20-yard line after a touchback. The Eagles gained 22 yards on four rushes, and they looked to be building momentum.

Unfortunately, Nick Anderson dropped an option pitch to turn the ball over at the 38-yard line.

Wilson needed only five plays to convert the possession change to a touchdown; he connected on a 12-yard pass to Michael Hall.

After the extra point, the Eagles trailed 28-7 six seconds into the second quarter.

The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds to give the Eagles their best starting field position at the 35-yard line.

Fordham put together a balanced attack against the Hoover defense. His 12-yard quarterback keeper, off a

fake handoff, capped a 14-play, 6:55 drive to cut the deficit to two touchdowns.

Neither team put any sustained offense up in the rest of the half, as the score remained, 28-14. The key stat was three Eagle turnovers that led to 21 Buccaneer points.

Hoover scored a field goal on the first possession of the second half. The Eagles repeated their first-half errors when Fordham coughed up the ball after three plays on the Hoover 45-yard line.


Eagle defense refused to yield. After two Buccaneer first downs, Oak Mountain linebacker Patrick Wall broke through the line on consecutive plays to sack Wilson and force a punt.

The Eagle defense came up big again later in the third quarter. They forced two Wilson incompletions before senior Alex Foreman picked off a pass and returned the ball to the Hoover 26-yard line. Now it was Oak Mountains turn to convert a turnover.

Hope lost two yards on a first-down carry, and then Fordham hit Logan Unruh coming over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

The score was 31-21 with 13 seconds left in the third quarter.

Oak Mountain got no closer. Hoover tacked on seven more points in the fourth quarter when Wilson found Williams for its second TD pass of the game.

Fordham had his best game of the year. He connected on 19-of-26 passing attempts for 219 yards and two TD passes; he also ran for another score. The Eagles’ defense held Hoover to only 60 rushing yards, recorded two sacks and made two interceptions.

Even with the loss, Oak Mountain finishes the seasonwith a 5-2 record in region play;

good enough for second place and a playoff berth.