Oak Mountain girls beat Bob Jones, boys play to draw

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The schedule for the Oak Mountain boys’ soccer team has been second to none through the first few weeks of the 2018 soccer season having played two top-three teams from the 6A classification and two top-10 teams from the 7A classification.

That trend continued on Tuesday, Feb. 27, when the Eagles played host to their fifth consecutive top-10 team to start the 2018 soccer season by traveling to take on the Bob Jones Patriots.

Through those first four tough matchups, Oak Mountain’s defense has been stellar, giving up just four goals for an average of one goal per game. The Eagles actually picked up two consecutive shutouts against Prattville and Pelham.

While the defense has been on fire, the offense has been lacking slightly to start the season having squared off against several of the best teams in the state.

Coming into the matchup with Bob Jones, Oak Mountain had scored a combined two goals through four games, which led to a record of 1-1-2 to start the season.

The Eagles found themselves in a similar situation against the Patriots as the defense limited Bob Jones to just one goal, but the offense was also only able to muster up one goal of its own leading to a 1-1 draw between the No. 9 Patriots and No. 2 Eagles.

Early in the game, however, it looked as if Oak Mountain’s offense was going to have a breakout game as Ben Goode was able to put the first goal of the game in the net for the Eagles less than four minutes into the contest.

Oak Mountain held that 1-0 lead for 16 more minutes until Bob Jones was able to get the equalizing goal on a breakaway to tie the game 1-1 with 20 minutes left until the half.

With the way each offense looked through the first 20 minutes of action, and really throughout the entire second half, it was hard to believe that the 1-1 tie was the final score.

Through the first 20 minutes of the second half, each team traded several shots on goal, but neither was able to find the back of the net thanks to strong goaltending and some shots that were just slightly off the mark.

Over the final 10 minutes of the second half, the Eagles had plenty of scoring opportunities, but were unable to take the lead at any point, which led to the 1-1 tie between the two teams.

It marked the third tie of the season for Oak Mountain as they now sit at 1-1-3 through five games.

The schedule won’t get much easier over the coming weeks as they have seven consecutive road games, including section matchups against Huffman, Spain Park and Mountain Brook.

Girls

Oddly enough, while the boys traveled up to north Alabama to take on the Patriots, the girls got to play host to Bob Jones, saving a two-hour trip.

Just like the boys matchup, the girls game pitted two top-10 teams against each other as the Eagles are ranked No. 1 in Class 7A and the Patriots are No. 9 in the classification.

Coming into the matchup, Bob Jones hadn’t lost a game this season posting an overall record of 4-0-2 and had given up more than one goal just one time.

That lone time of giving up multiple goals was against the same team they were about to take on as they picked up a 3-3 draw against Oak Mountain in the Lakeshore Shootout just four days earlier.

That 3-3 tie also marked the Eagles’ only blemish of the 2018 season so far having won their other five games outside of that matchup.

After that tie, however, Oak Mountain went on to win two consecutive games in the Lakeshore Shootout by a combined score of 17-1 to win the Platinum Division championship.

Just like the first game between the two, Oak Mountain’s offense was able to take advantage of several opportunities and found the back of the net on five different occasions.

The difference in this game and the first matchup was the level of intensity the Eagles played with defensively. They learned from the three goals they gave up in the first meeting and responded by posting their third shutout of the season to take down the Patriots by a final score of 5-0.

With the win, Oak Mountain moved to 6-0-1 on the season as they have failed to lose a game so far this year, cementing themselves as the clear No. 1 team in Class 7A.