Oak Mountain losses second-straight

Published 1:58 am Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gold helmets and green jerseys glared through holes in the Mountain Brook team banner. But the premature tearing of the banner didn’t phase the Spartans in their home opener, beating Oak Mountain, 38-13.

“I thought that our offensive line was playing pretty well, but J.D. [Marsh], he can make Mother Theresa look like [former Nebraska offensive lineman] Dave Remington, so I don’t know how good we were playing,” Mountain Brook head coach Chris Yeager said.

Marsh scored four touchdowns and the Spartans didn’t have to rely on anyone else. Marsh rushed for 145 yards and three scores, later adding a 94-yard kickoff return that killed Oak Mountain’s resurging hopes.

“He played unreal. He made people miss and he ran hard in between the tackles, which was a big plus,” Yeager said.

Marsh plowed straight up the middle most runs, seemingly gaining six yards a carry. The Spartans attacked the middle of the Eagles’ defense, which last week lost starting middle linebacker Whit Whitfield for the season.

Whitfield had ACL replacement surgery after injuring his right knee in the fourth quarter against Pelham. Doctors also repaired a slight tear of his lateral meniscus.

Marsh did score all three of his rushing touchdowns in the first half as Mountain Brook grabbed a 28-0 halftime lead. Oak Mountain looked enthused when senior receiver Jeff Houser scored an 18-yard touchdown early in the third quarter, but Marsh took the ensuing kickoff the distance.

“It’s a challenge any time you lose the kids you were planning on playing the entire year,” Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood said. “Not only did we lose Whitfield, we were missing two offensive linemen tonight.”

Senior Drew McKnight managed to throw two touchdown passes in the second half behind a makeshift line, but the Eagles’ offense finished with 196 total yards after surpassing 400 last week. Senior Peter Boehme punted seven times in the first half for Oak Mountain (0-2).

“It’s just a disheartening loss,” Hood said. “I thought the kids played to the final whistle, which is what we asked them to do at halftime, and if you do that, you’ve got a lot of character. It was a hard, hard game.”

Hood will have to work miracles with a young defense without Whitfield, who watched the game in a wheelchair but hopes to play his senior season next fall.

Mountain Brook (2-0) has won two straight blowouts, giving up their first points of the season on Houser’s reception after six shutout quarters.

“We’ve been real fortunate. We’ve come out of the chute pretty hot and the teams we’ve been playing have been a little bit snakebitten,” Yeager said.

Marsh and the Spartans beat Thompson 39-0 last week and played their backups most of the fourth quarter Friday night. It’s unlikely Mountain Brook will coast next week at Pelham, which beat Spain Park 21-15 this week. With Marsh controlling both games, quarterback Jud Golsan has attempted just 23 passes, completing 17 of them. Two of his 10 passes against Oak Mountain were intercepted.

After rushing for over 300 yards and scoring six touchdowns in his first two games, Marsh isn’t worried about a lack of competition.

“I think we’ve been tested. This game, this wasn’t a joke,” Marsh said. “This team is a good team, Thompson’s a good team — I think we’ve done real good.”