Big plays doom Eagles in blowout loss
By DAVIS POTTER / Staff Writer
NORTH SHELBY — With Oak Mountain High School searching for its first win of the season, head coach Jeff Harris didn’t want his team thinking about its opponent leading up to the game on Sept. 10.
That task is easier said than done when the counterpart is Hoover High School, the top-ranked team in Class 6A.
Hoover (3-0, 2-0 in Class 6A, Region 6) piled up 415 yards of total offense and overwhelmed Oak Mountain (0-3, 0-2 in Class Class 6A, Region 6 play) in every facet of the game to cruise to a 60-0 victory over the Eagles at Heardmont Park.
“The main thing that we preached wasn’t so much anything about Hoover. It was about us,” Harris said. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot to work on. We’ve got a lot of obstacles to overcome, but I’m proud of the guys for continuing and persevering.”
The Eagles didn’t have any other choice after falling behind an early 14-0 hole midway through the first quarter by way of Hoover’s quick-strike offense.
The Buccaneers used two drives and 10 plays to get on the scoreboard early, and each ended with short touchdown runs by running back Justin McArthur.
Hoover then turned to the big-play ability of wide receiver Jaylon Denson to pad its lead.
On the next two possessions, quarterback Ryan Carter connected with Denson on a 14-yard pass in the right front corner of the end zone and a 42-yard bomb down the left sideline to give the Buccaneers a 29-0 lead with 3:29 remaining in the opening quarter.
Carter went 10-for-13 for 186 yards to go along with both touchdowns.
Oak Mountain was victimized by the big play for a majority of the first half, as the Buccaneers had five plays of 20 yards or more in the first 24 minutes.
Hoover was able to take advantage of a certain defensive alignment that head coach Josh Niblett and his staff saw from the Eagles early on.
“We were able to get their safties kind of rolled down, and (that) put Jaylon in some one-on-one situations on the back side,” Niblett said. “We were able to get him involved early in the offense and throw some balls over the top.”
Denson, an Auburn University commit, hauled in six passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Hoover used two more touchdowns on the ground and a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown by junior Caleb Sims with 9:13 left in the second quarter to build a comfortable 53-0 halftime lead.
One bright spot for the Eagles was the play of senior running back Michael Jointer, who grinded out 65 yards on 18 carries against a Hoover defense that has yet to give up a point this season.
Despite the lopsided result, Harris said the plan for his team is to continue to press forward.
“Now that we’ve got this one behind us, we’ve got to look forward and just focus on getting better every single day,” Harris said.
Oak Mountain will try to get in the win column with a visit to Spain Park Sept. 17 while the Buccaneers will travel to Thompson for another Class 6A, Region 6 tussle.