Oak Mountain wins Platinum Division of Lakeshore Shootout to start season unbeaten

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

The Oak Mountain Eagles entered the season with the pressure of a No. 1 ranking in the Class 7A preseason coaches poll, but they rose to those expectations with a title-winning weekend at the Lakeshore Shootout.

The Eagles took the Platinum Division title at the Lakeshore Shootout by defeating Huntsville, Hoover and Georgia’s Northgate to emerge unscathed from a difficult division.

Oak Mountain kicked off the tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 7 against the Northgate Vikings in its first game of the season.

The Eagles showed no signs of rust in their season opener as they put four goals past the Vikings in the first half to build a dominant lead at halftime.

From there, Oak Mountain added two more goals in the second half and allowed just two in response from Northgate. That secured the 6-2 victory and put the Eagles in prime position to contend for the Platinum Division title.

Aidan Riley and Gabe Capocci each earned a brace in the win. Riley added three assists for a dominant night and Cappoci earned an assist himself.

Sam Collins and Grant Eagan rounded out the scoring for Oak Mountain, while Nate Taylor and Nate Joiner each recorded an assist.

The Eagles had a quick turnaround the next night on Thursday, Feb. 8 to face their cross-town foe in the Hoover Buccaneers.

Oak Mountain kept rolling thanks to a hat trick from Collins which powered it to a 4-1 victory. Joiner had a goal for the Eagles to round out the scoring.

Luke Jovanovich had two assists on the night and Harrison Kilgore contributed an assist as well. Goalkeeper Owen Wells stopped a penalty kick to keep Hoover at just one goal on the night.

While Oak Mountain’s 2-0 start to the tournament was impressive enough, they had one big test left before they could call themselves champions, and it was one that the Eagles were very familiar with.

Oak Mountain took on the Huntsville Panthers in the final match of the tournament on Friday, Feb. 9 at Eagle Sports Complex in Calera as the two squared off for the first time since Huntsville’s 1-0 win in the Final 4 last May.

Unlike that meeting, it was the Eagles offense that showed up in a big way. After being held scoreless in the Final 4, they put two goals past the Panthers defense in the first half to get off to a strong start.

Oak Mountain finished the game strong by adding a third goal and polishing off a clean sheet to earn the 3-0 win and the Platinum Division championship.

Collins added two more goals to his total for the tournament, securing the brace after scoring a hat trick the night before. Joiner scored the other goal for the Eagles, and Kilgore and Om Shrestha each had assists.

Wells had two saves for his first shutout victory of the season for Oak Mountain.

The Eagles will return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. to face Fort Payne at home.