Hoover must take Eagles seriously

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Hoover Bucs come into this Friday’s matchup with high spirits after trouncing Tuscaloosa County last week, 42-8.

The Bucs are a team that is used to winning, especially when it comes to the playoffs. In the past three years, Hoover has failed to lose a playoff game, and as they host the Oak Mountain Eagles this Friday night you have to believe they’re expecting that streak to continue.

Hoover has to be careful, however, about taking the Eagles too lightly in the semifinal matchup this weekend.

When the two region foes met on Oct. 21, a game that Hoover won 38-21, the score did not fairly reflect the game.

Oak Mountain matched, or came close, to the Bucs in almost every statistical category. The Eagles had more first downs (17-16), and quarterback Richie Fordham had a better completion rating then the acclaimed Ross Wilson.

The stat that doomed the Eagles in Week 9, though, was turnovers. Oak Mountain fumbled the ball six times, losing four of those drops, and Fordham was intercepted once.

People will argue that the Hoover team playing this Friday night is not the same squad that defeated the Eagles by 17 points earlier this year. And they may be right.

Since beating Oak Mountain, the Bucs have avenged their one loss of the season to Tuscaloosa County and have won all of their playoff games with ease.

But the Eagles are a different team as well.

Oak Mountain has been on fire in the playoffs behind the play of Fordham and running backs Nick Anderson, James Hope and Zack Fowler on offense. Fordham has completed 35-of-48 passes for 470 yards and three touchdowns, throwing only two interceptions in three games.

The Eagles’ backfield has amassed 603 yards on the ground and reached the end zone eight times in the playoffs.

The Eagles have also been a dominant force on defense in the postseason, causing eight turnovers and holding opposing offenses to minimal yards.

The Eagles’ fate lies in their ability to take care of the ball and make big plays against a stingy defense. They have the skill to beat the Bucs and

the will to win.

Eagles, it’s your turn to shine.

– Prediction: Oak Mountain 35, Hoover 28