OMHS to use jamboree as a tune up

BY DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

The Oak Mountain Eagles will host Oxford High Aug. 23 in a preseason matchup, and head coach Cris Bell said he is concerned with his team’s execution than number of points they rack up.

“We want our kids to compete,” he said. “We use it as a gauge of how far we’ve come. I care about how our kids respond.”

Bell said the Eagles will focus on running plays and working out kinks in game situations. The squads will follow a format many teams in the state have adapted: the first half will feature the two varsity teams playing each other, with younger players taking over in the second half.

The decision to not play the varsities the entire game was not necessarily based on concern about injuries, Bell said.

I think everybody’s goal is to stay healthy,” he said. “You don’t make that decision worrying about getting hurt. That’s more to be able to evaluate kids.”

While the Eagles will open in the comfort of their own stadium, Bell said he wasn’t sure if playing at home mattered in a jamboree game.

“I don’t know if that plays into it one way or another,” he said. “I’d probably rather play on the road to find out if it’s going to affect a kid.”

With jamborees serving as the last chance to test out teams before the regular season starts, Oak Mountain’s players are looking to gain a great deal of confidence.

Bell said his main goal for the game was for his team to be comfortable running the option, which will be his team’s preferred offense throughout the year.

“We want to come out of this thing with a lot of confidence,” Bell said. “We need to come out with a lot better mindset (into game one) than last year.”

The Eagles will kick off at 7 p.m. at Heardmont Park, located at 5458 Cahaba Valley Road in Birmingham.