Eagles advance with win over Cougars

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Oak Mountain used three late game turnovers Friday to defeat Clay-Chalkville, 34-18, and advance to the semifinal round of the 6A playoffs.

The Eagles’ forced five turnovers in the game, and Oak Mountain head coach Jerry hood said those plays were a decisive factor in the victory.

&8220;Those are plays that we have to make,&8221; he said. &8220;I didn’t think our defense played particularly well but they came through getting turnovers.&8221;

The Eagles’ offense has averaged 30 or more points in each of their playoff games, with quarterback Richie Fordham deserving much of the credit for the team’s offensive success.

Fordham has completed more than 77 percent of his passes in the postseason, including 13-of-17 for 208 yards in the Eagles’ win over the Cougars.

&8220;Richie has done great for us,&8221; Hood said. &8220;He has passed well and ran the ball well at the same time.&8221;

Fordham contributed to two of Oak Mountain touchdowns, rushing into the end zone from one yard out in the first quarter and completing a 52-yard pass to John Cubelic in the third quarter.

&8220;Our defense is first and foremost what we’re about,&8221; Hood said. &8220;But our offense has been playing great in the playoffs. We really have a wonderful balance right now.&8221;

Oak Mountain kicked off the scoring on Fordham’s run against the Cougars, but Clay-Chalkville responded in second quarter on a six-yard touchdown catch, making the score 7-6 at the half.

Eagles’ kicker Ryan Shoemaker, one of the Alabama’s top kicking prospects, connected on a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter and Fordham and Cubelic connected to make the score 17-6.

The Cougars responded with a 27-yard pass play late in the third quarter, but a field goal by Shoemaker and touchdown runs by backs James Hope and Nick Anderson in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Oak Mountain.

Hope reached the end zone from 39 yards out and Anderson pounded the ball in from one yard out for the Eagles’ final score.

&8220;Those guys are an important part of our game,&8221; Hood said of his talented backfield.

The Eagles defense, despite not playing its best football, held the Cougars to 53 yards on the ground and caused six turnovers in the game