Oak Mountain falls on last-second field goal

Published 1:58 am Saturday, October 13, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

TUSCALOOSA – A difficult stretch for the Oak Mountain Eagles’ football team got even more difficult on Friday, Oct. 12, when they hit the road for a region contest against the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats.

Having lost five consecutive games, but competed against four teams currently in the top seven of the ASWA football poll, the Eagles were looking for a big bounce-back win against Tuscaloosa County, whom they shared last place in the region with.

Unfortunately, the Eagles will have to wait another week to try and regain momentum as Tuscaloosa County’s Wikes Pierce narrowly edged a 34-yard kick over the goal post as time expired in a 7-7 game for a game-winning field goal to give the Wildcats a 10-7 victory.

While the game was a defensive stalemate for the most part, it looked like there would be a back-and-forth offensive game in the early going, which is what was expected.

The Wildcats received the opening kick and drove all the way down the field in less than four minutes to take a quick 7-0 lead with 8:17 left in the first quarter.

For a while, it looked like Oak Mountain was going to answer on the ensuing drive, but on fourth down, the Eagles were stopped short after going for it, which in turn gave the ball back to the Wildcats at their own 18-yard line.

For the next three quarters of play, both offenses struggled mightily and a punt fest ensued.

That didn’t change until midway through the fourth quarter when Oak Mountain got a score it had to have.

After a personal foul 15-yard penalty gave the Eagles a first down on fourth-and-5 from the Wildcats’ 24-yard line, they were able to capitalize shortly after when Luke Percer punched in a 9-yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7 with 6:13 left to play.

After trading punt on the two ensuing possessions, Tuscaloosa County took over one last time with little time left at its own 30-yard line. The Wildcats, however, were able to move the ball quickly down field and into field goal range for Pierce, who crushed the hearts of the Oak Mountain faithful and gave the Wildcats their first region win of the season with the game-winning field goal.

Percer ended the game as the leading rusher for the Eagles with his lone touchdown and 104 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Evan Smith had 22 yards on eight carries, while adding 65 yards passing on 8-of-13 attempts.

Jacob Fitzgerald and Dylan Hoye each had nine tackles to pace a strong defensive effort.

With the loss, Oak Mountain fell to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in region play and is now set to face rival Spain Park on Friday, Oct. 19, in a game that will feature two teams on six-game losing streaks after winning their opener back on Aug. 24.