Oak Mountain goes 2-1 on southern road trip as Chris Blight earns 200th win

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

The Oak Mountain Eagles are off to a strong 2-1 start to the 2024 season after defeating the Fairhope Pirates 1-0 and the St. Paul’s Episcopal Saints 6-0, but the second win led to a big milestone for the man in charge of the Eagles.

Eagles coach Chris Blight reached 200 career wins with Oak Mountain’s win over St. Paul’s on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Blight was honored to reach the milestone but gave the credit to his players for securing the win and all of the Eagles before them who helped earn the first 199 victories.

“Obviously, it’s a nice milestone to hit in your coaching career, but it really is about the journey that I’ve been on for a number of years now,” he said. “I don’t do this for myself. Obviously, it was nice to reach. And I’ve gotten some amazing messages from friends, former players, people in the game, which has been awesome. But for me, this is about the players.”

Those players were needed throughout the weekend as the Eagles took on three of the best 7A teams in south Alabama during the three-game road trip.

In its first game on Thursday, Feb. 1, Oak Mountain battled it out with Fairhope to a scoreless result for most of the match.

However, the Eagles earned a late match-winning goal to defeat the Pirates 1-0 and start out the season with a win.

Oak Mountain followed that up the next day on Friday, Feb. 2 with a tough test against McGill-Toolen.

The Jackets were ranked as the No. 8 team in Class 7A coming into the match, and they served as a great challenge to the top-ranked Eagles.

While Oak Mountain allowed its first goal of the season to McGill-Toolen, they limited the damage to just the one goal as the match ended in a 1-0 Jackets win.

On the third and final day of the road trip, the Eagles offense roared to life and matched its stingy defense’s effort for a dominant win.

Oak Mountain put six goals past the Saints in their showdown, with four goals coming in the first half before it added two more after halftime.

The Eagles defense turned in their second clean sheet of the weekend to secure the 6-0 victory, which gave Blight his milestone win.

Blight saw some positives in their first three matches, but more importantly to him, he saw what his team was made of and what they could learn from as the season goes on.

“I thought it was some good, some bad, some ugly,” Blight said. “But I think that more than anything, we learned a lot about ourselves, and I think that’s what the start of the season is all about–seeing what works, what doesn’t work, how we can build on that.”