Nowhere to run for Eagles

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Oak Mountain relied on the offensive output of its backfield for most of this season to score points. But the Hoover Buccaneers were able to neutralize the Eagles’ running threat in Friday night’s 6A semifinal game, defeating Oak Mountain, 27-7, and advancing to the 6A state finals.

&8220;They played great defense,&8221; Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood said. &8220;They took away what we do best, and that’s running the ball.&8221;

The Eagles were only able to manage 34 yards on 25 carries against the Bucs, with junior back Nick Anderson earning 21 yards on eight carries.

Oak Mountain held strong defensively against Hoover for most of the first half, going into the second quarter tied, 0-0, with the reigning

state champs. But the last six minutes of the second quarter proved to be a nightmare for the Eagles.

&8220;We played well at times,&8221; Hood said. &8220;But we gave up some big plays at times.&8221;

Hoover quarterback Ross Wilson connected on two second quarter score to receivers Michael Hall and Dennis King, giving his team a 14-0 lead at halftime.

Hoover scored again in the third quarter on a 18-yard pass play from Wilson to stand-out receiver Cornelius Williams, giving the Bucs a 21-point advantage.

Oak Mountain quarterback Richie Fordham finally broke through Hoover’s tough defense early in the fourth quarter, stretching the ball over the goal line from three yards out.

That was as close as the Eagles would come to upsetting the Bucs however.

Hoover’s King finished off the game’s scoring with a nine-yard run midway through the final quarter.

Fordham completed 15-of-27 passes for 165 yards with one interception while Wilson completed 15-of-28 throws for 262 yards and three scores. Wilson also had an interception.

Hood said he was proud of the way his team has performed this year and that their efforts were a sign of things to come at Oak Mountain.

&8220;These guys are very special to me. This particular bunch of kids needed success because they’ve never seen success with this program.

&8220;They’ve come all the way to the brink of a state championship and I’m so proud of them.&8221;

Friday’s loss saw the careers of 22 Oak Mountain seniors come to an end, and Hood said the team would not be where it is right now if it were not for their performances.

&8220;They have great character and they played their guts out this season,&8221; he said. &8220;They’ve set the bar very high for Oak Mountain and we’re just hoping to live up to that.&8221;

Hood said his team would return to the weight room within a few weeks to prepare for next season.

The Bucs prepare this week to face Daphne at Legion Field Saturday afternoon as they make their bid for a unprecedented third-straight state title