Oak Mountain falls by 7 to Hoover in tight region battle

Published 12:14 am Saturday, September 18, 2021

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Special to the Reporter

NORTH SHELBY – It may not have been as close at times as last season’s playoff contest, but the Hoover Buccaneers topped the Oak Mountain Eagles 28-21, holding off a late Eagles’ effort on Friday night, Sept. 17 at Heardmont Park.

“It goes back, we had opportunities, and we didn’t execute, and credit Hoover, when they had opportunities, they executed,” Crane said. “We have to go back and get better at what we do and keep getting better each and every week. We’ve got to do a better job of doing the little things right each and every day and understanding that all those little things matter.”

Both offenses showed signs of life with big plays and speed, but neither side could string together a scoring drive in the opening quarter. However, on the first drive of the second period, Jordan Woolen of the Buccaneers came up big on a third-down cross route for a touchdown to put Hoover up 7-0.

Oak Mountain then went three-and-out, and Hoover quickly made the Eagles pay when the Bucs blocked the punt and recovered the ball at the 2-yard line.

From there, Hoover quarterback Jay Avery punched it in two plays later to extend the lead to 14-0.

Devan Moss of the Eagles picked off the ball in the end zone on the first play of Hoover’s next drive, but the Oak Mountain offense could not capitalize and punted it away.

That punt led to another Hoover scoring drive, as Avery added his second goal-line touchdown run of the night.

Hoover’s 21-0 lead, however, didn’t last into halftime after a 43-yard reception by Cade George and a 32-yard catch by Murphy set up quarterback Evan Smith for a short touchdown run, which cut the lead to 21-7 going into the break.

Oak Mountain would receive the ball to start the second half, and used that momentum to march 99 yards up the field, 42 of those coming on the legs of another Smith touchdown run.

With the score now 21-14, and the Eagles beginning to feel their chances of victory increasing, Oak Mountain tried a surprise onside kick, but the Eagles could not recover their third of the season.

Instead, it set up the Buccaneers at the Eagles’ 42-yard line. Two plays later, a Kamal Amerson touchdown run had Hoover up 28-14.

Oak Mountain didn’t answer until the start of the fourth when George set the Eagles up at the 1-yard line off a big play. That led to Smith extending a bad passing situation into his third scoring run of the night.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, a fumble on their next drive ensured they would only come within seven points, and the Buccaneers ran down the clock to secure the 28-21 victory on the road, making Oak Mountain wait another year for their first victory against Hoover.

The Eagles’ first year head coach Tyler Crane chalked up much of his team’s performance to “the little things” and believes they made a difference in the end.

Oak Mountain is off next week before making the short trip to Spain Park on Oct. 1.

“I’m very proud of our young men and I’ll put them up against anybody,” he said. “As long as we just got to keep working.”

Both quarterbacks led the rushing with 98 yards for Avery and 106 yards for Smith. George led all receivers with 87 yards.