Oak Mountain dominates Chelsea in battle of top-three teams

Published 11:27 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain Eagles got back to what they’ve done best this season in their matchup with the Chelsea Hornets: win and rack up goals while doing so.

The Eagles took a 3-0 win over their county rivals on Thursday, Feb. 29 at Oak Mountain High School to improve to 2-0 in area play and all but ensure they will remain atop next week’s coaches poll with a 10-0 record.

From the opening whistle, Oak Mountain used its speed and skill to control the matchup against Chelsea.

A Sam Collins shot in the ninth minute missed just left of the goal, and on a corner kick one minute later, the Eagles had multiple efforts before Gabe Capocci nearly scored the opener, but the game remained goalless.

In the face of that pressure, the Hornets reminded Oak Mountain why they entered the match as the No. 3 team in Class 7A as their defense helped preserve the score line.

All-State goalkeeper Brock Marlow directed traffic effectively from goal and made crucial stops throughout the match. In addition, defender Luke Miller earned three interceptions while blocking multiple Eagles crosses.

However, shortly after a pair of Chelsea opportunities, one of Oak Mountain’s many crosses from the left side finally connected in the 29th minute as Capocci slotted the ball home for the opening goal.

With the Eagles in front 1-0, they weren’t satisfied with that and added a second before the break.

In the 38th minute, Collins got out on a breakaway and sent the ball into the box to Nate Joiner, who hit the point-blank shot to make the halftime score 2-0 in favor of No. 1 Oak Mountain.

The Eagles continued to control the momentum as the second half began as they had multiple chances in front of the box in the opening 10 minutes of the half.

While the score remained 2-0 much in thanks to the Hornets defense, Oak Mountain piled on the pressure until the third goal finally fell in the 71st minute.

Aidan Riley got out on a counterattack breakaway with just Marlow standing in his way. From there, he used a ball skill to create space and tight-roped the shot on the ground past a diving Marlow to score and put his team up 3-0.

The Eagles nearly added to that lead with five minutes left as a pair of shots ricocheted off the post.

Marlow ended the game with a pair of stops, including in the 79th minute when he beat out Julian Harrison to a ball to prevent the score line from growing any more.

In the end, Oak Mountain walked away with the 3-0 victory in another dominant showing.

Collins ended the night with two assists and four shots. Capocci led the team in shots with five, including four on goal with one going into the back of the net. Harrison Kilgore had four shots with three on goal and Riley had three shots with two going on goal.

Owen Wells picked up the clean sheet after making two saves in the win.

Oak Mountain will have a week of rest ahead of the Tournament of Champions in Jekyl Island, Georgia when the Eagles will take on a trio of Georgia teams in Oconee County, St. Pius X and Lowndes from March 7-9.

Chelsea will return home to take on Moody on Monday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m.