Oak Mountain dashes Rebels’ hopes in overtime victory
By NEAL EMBRY/For the Reporter
NORTH SHELBY — Buddy Anderson’s record will wait at least one more week after the Vestavia Hills Rebels fell to Oak Mountain, 14-7, in an overtime thriller at Heardmont Park Friday night.
After a scoreless first half, Vestavia got the scoring started with just over a minute left in the third quarter. The Rebels blocked an Eagles kick, moved the ball down the field and punched the ball over the goal line with a touchdown run from quarterback Landon Crowder.
On the ensuing Oak Mountain drive, running back Harold Shader took the handoff and ran the Eagles into Vestavia territory. With the crowd roaring behind them, Oak Mountain tied the game on a touchdown pass from quarterback Warren Shader to Daniel Salchert.
Turnovers threatened to undo both teams throughout the game. Vestavia recovered an Eagles fumble with five and a half minutes left in the game, and took over at the Oak Mountain 33-yard line.
On a third and five from the Oak Mountain 16-yard line, Vestavia running back Walker Minor dropped an open pass from Crowder. After the drop, Minor grabbed an Oak Mountain player’s facemask, drawing the personal foul, moving Vestavia back 15 yards. The Rebels missed their 47-yard field goal attempt, causing Heardmont Park to erupt in noise.
In overtime, the Rebels won the toss and elected to go on defense first.
On their first possession of overtime, the Eagles faced a third down and goal from the one-yard line. Harold Shader cleared the goal line, putting the Eagles on top, 14-7.
Vestavia had one last chance. On a third and seven, Landon Crowder’s pass was swatted down in the corner of the end zone. Oak Mountain sealed the upset victory on the next play, stopping Vestavia short of the goal line on fourth down.
Oak Mountain Coach Cris Bell was impressed with his team’s second-half performance, but added that next week’s matchup with Hoover will help tell if this game was, in his words, an “aberration,” or a sign that Oak Mountain can compete with the top teams in the region.
“I couldn’t be more proud of those guys,” Bell said. “We need to enjoy tonight, but tomorrow morning we wake up and we have to get focused on those guys in orange and black.”