Oak Mountain finishes area play 5-1 with win over THS

By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – The Thompson Warriors gave No. 2 Oak Mountain all it could handle on Wednesday, April 17, but the Eagles continued to attack and capitalized on a couple of penalty kicks in the second half to escape with a road win by a final score of 3-2.

“We’ve gone through a lot of adversity this year with injuries,” said Eagles’ head coach David DiPiazza. “I just told them I was proud of their grit. We got behind, but we didn’t give up. They created chances to score and that’s all I can ask.”

Both teams scored in the first 10 minutes as Cody Wells scored five minutes in for Oak Mountain, while Kevin Santana scored two minutes later for Thompson to knot the game at 1-1.

A sizable lull in the scoring followed as both teams went the next 25 minutes without scoring. Slowly, Thompson began to swing the possession battle and their shot attempts increased.

By halftime, the Warriors had taken nine shots to Oak Mountain’s six. Thompson made its move late in the half as Sy Garrett caught the ball off a rebound in a crowded box and slid a short shot past the goalie to give the Warriors their first lead at 2-1.

That lead held well into the second half, and for a moment an upset bid seemed within reach.

Those hopes were dashed in the 57th minute as the Eagles drove down the pitch into the goalie box. A pass to the right of the goal was met simultaneously by a Thompson defender and Oak Mountain’s Cody Wells, but the contact gave the Eagles a penalty kick sending Patrick Guffey to the line.

The chance proved to be the cure for an ailing offense as Guffey drove a perfect shot into the left corner to tie the game at 2-2.

Oak Mountain didn’t have to wait long for another shot. Four minutes later another pass into Thompson territory had Oak Mountain in good position again, but a clear foul from Thompson this time gave the Eagles another penalty kick—this time with a chance to take the lead.

DiPiazza chose Wells in the game’s biggest moment, and he didn’t disappoint faking left before sending a shot into the right corner for the 3-2 lead.

“He’s our captain and the heartbeat of our team,” DiPiazza said. “He’s a great leader, phenomenal player. He’s going to play at Tampa next year so everything goes through him. And he’s all over the place so whether he’s in the midfield, on defense or scoring goals I know I’m going to get his best effort every night.”

Oak Mountain improved to 14-7 overall and closed area play out at 5-1. The Eagles will have to wait and see if that means they are area champions with Hoover still taking on Thompson on Tuesday, April 23. If the Bucs lose, Oak Mountain will win the area crown, while a win would set up a tiebreaker scenario between Hoover and the Eagles.

Thompson is now 8-8-3 overall and 2-3 in area play, as the Warriors look to close the season out with an upset of the Buccaneers.