Oak Mountain wins top-five battle with Hoover to open playoffs

Published 9:57 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Following an early exit from the playoffs last year as the No. 1 team in the state thanks to a one-goal loss to eventual state champion Spain Park in the opening round, the Oak Mountain Eagles bounced back in 2023 with a one-goal win in a top-five battle.

Taking on No. 4 Hoover in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs, the No. 2 Eagles built a 2-0 lead on the Buccaneers and staved off a comeback attempt from there with another strong defensive effort.

Oak Mountain gave up just one late goal in the final six minutes of the matchup, leading to a 2-1 victory for the Eagles and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Class 7A playoffs.

The Eagles were able to play with the lead from early in the game, taking a defensive first 20 minutes of the game and gathering a 1-0 lead with 17:02 to play in the first half thanks to Kierson McDonald finding the back of the net.

That advantage held up the rest of the half, as both defenses continued impressive seasons.

Oak Mountain, however, knew one more goal would put the team in good shape with a defense that had given up one goal or less in all but two games this season.

Sure enough, 13:25 into the second half, the Eagles got exactly what they needed when freshman Ava Fields headed in an insurance goal to make it 2-0.

With 26:35 to play, that goal became key in Oak Mountain’s win.

It took another 21 minutes, but Hoover eventually found the back of the net with 5:02 to play, but that became the Bucs’ only damage in the game.

Oak Mountain’s defense finished off a strong effort from there by closing out a 2-1 victory to improve to 21-3 on the season and advance to the Class 7A quarterfinals.

The Eagles have now given up one goal or less in 22 of their 24 games on the season, which will be key heading into a quarterfinal battle with either No. 1 Vestavia Hills or No. 3 Spain Park later this week. Both teams have wins of 1-0 against the Eagles this season.