Eagles snag last-minute win

Published 3:37 am Saturday, September 20, 2008

He knew the play was going to be so close to not working, that he couldn’t even look to see if his receiver caught the ball. Trailing by six points to Homewood with less than a minute to play, Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood looked elsewhere on the decisive play.

“I saw him go up and reach out with his left hand and I immediately looked at the official in the back of the end zone because I was wanting to see if he was in bounds,” Hood said. “I didn’t know if he’d catch it or what. The guy raised his arms and the good Lord looked over us right there.”

Eric McKelvey’s one-handed grab on a fourth-and-7, 14-yard roll out pass from Drew McKnight, tied the ball game with 57 seconds to play. Jeff Haney’s extra point pushed the Eagles over the top for the first time in the game, 28-27.

“Everybody just went crazy,” Hood said. “It was a good night for us. I hate it for Homewood, because that is a first class program with championship quality coaches. They put us on our heels the whole night on offense.”

Homewood stuffed Oak Mountain in the first half on offense, forcing a fumble to start the second quarter. Michael Lee scooped up the loose ball and returned it 24 yards for the Patriots’ second touchdown of the game. But the point-after kick was no good.

“I was hoping that point would come back to give us a margin to win by,” Hood said.

Homewood continued to attack, both by air and by ground, leaving Oak Mountain confused and down 27-7 entering the fourth quarter.

McKnight, who had 215 yards passing and 72 yards rushing in the game, was in the middle of a 79-yard drive when the quarters changed, and capped the 17-play drive with a 1-yard run to pull within two touchdowns. He later legged out another touchdown from 20 yards out with 4:31 to play to pull within six points.

The Eagles had their backs against the wall with about four minutes to play in the game, but a tipped pass with 3:40 to play gave the Eagles new life when Wes Alexander came away with an interception at the Homewood 32. The pick set up the game-winning drive for McKelvey’s second touchdown of the night. He ran one in from two yards out in the second quarter.

“The kids persevered and just never, never quit. They believed. They hung in there. They decided that they were going to fight and kept on and won that game. It was awesome,” Hood said.

The loss was Homewood’s fourth-straight to open the season and Oak Mountain’s first victory.

Oak Mountain will head to Hoover Friday, while Homewood will play Pelham.