Diving into Oak Mountain’s 2024 football schedule

Published 11:08 am Friday, May 24, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

Following a disappointing first year in the Shane McComb era, the Oak Mountain Eagles have named their opponents for year two with the release of their 2024 football schedule.

The Eagles will take on Briarwood, Pelham, and Chelsea in non-region play, while matching up with Prattville, Thompson, Tuscaloosa County, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Hewitt-Trussville and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in Class 7A, Region 3.

Oak Mountain is set to kick off its 2024 campaign on Aug. 23 against the Briarwood Christian Lions for the third straight season in the “Battle for Highway 119” at Heardmont Park.

Briarwood has won the last two meetings between the two schools, but the Eagles hold a 2-4 deficit all-time in the rivalry series, with their last win coming in 2015. The Lions finished last season with a 6-6 record, making it to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs where they eventually fell to Saraland.

Next, Oak Mountain will make the trip down Highway 31 on Aug. 30 to take on the Pelham Panthers in what has become a competitive battle between the two schools in recent history.

In last year’s contest, the Panthers fought late to take a 24-21 game that was back and forth all the way through.

The Eagles will then come back home on Sept. 6 to host Prattville in its welcome to Class 7A, Region 3.

This will be the third overall meeting between the two programs, and the first since 2013. They split the first two matchups, with the Lions winning the most recent one 28-21. It should be a fairly competitive matchup, with Prattville having just also come off a down year at 3-7 and a seventh-place finish in Class 7A, Region 2.

Oak Mountain will travel down I-65 on Sept. 13 to meet the Thompson Warriors in Alabaster, where things have not gone the Eagles’ way at all in the last few years.

In the last four meetings between the two, Oak Mountain has only scored a total of 14 points and given up 202. With the Warriors having won four out of the last five state championships in Class 7A, the Eagles will have to do everything they can and then some to be competitive in this game.

After that, Oak Mountain makes the return back home to take on the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats on Sept. 20.

Since 2014, the Eagles and Wildcats have met every year, where Oak Mountain leads the series six games to four. Despite that, Tuscaloosa County has won the previous two, winning by combined four points in which the Eagles have not capitalized to win late.

Oak Mountain will then take its bye week before jumping into the back half of its schedule, which begins with a trip to the Hoover Met to match up with Hoover on Oct. 4.

While considered a rivalry, the Eagles have never beaten the Buccaneers in their 22-game history. The closest they have come was in the second round of the 2020 playoffs when Hoover stopped them late to win 24-21. Oak Mountain will look to try and change that this year.

The Eagles will then come back to Heardmont Park on Oct. 11 to meet with Vestavia Hills.

The last handful of years have proven to be competitive between the two squads, but Oak Mountain is trying to rebound after getting blown out 50-0 in 2023. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles handle the game plan this year and what changes they make to try and fend off the Rebels.

Next, Oak Mountain will continue on Oct. 18 with a trip to Hewitt-Trussville to take on the Huskies.

The Eagles have not defeated Hewitt since 2014. The Huskies are entering the season as the reigning runner-ups in Class 7A, Region 3, and will be looking to make a run to the state championship game this season after falling to Thompson in the semifinals in 2023.

Oak Mountain finishes off region play with a home game against region newcomer Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa on Oct. 25.

The Patriots make the move to Class 7A for the first time ever after being in Class 6A since 1998. Additionally, that move will not be any easier as they join a brutal region. They come in as 2023 champions of Class 6A, Region 4, finishing 12-1 with a loss to Saraland in the third round.

This will be the first meeting for the Eagles with Hillcrest since 2017 whenOak Mountain won 28-27 after stopping the Patriots on a potential game-winning two-point conversion try with eight seconds left. The game will be dictated by how competitive the Eagles are up to that week and whether or not they can stop a forceful Hillcrest offense.

Finally, Oak Mountain will have its newest installment in its rivalry with Chelsea to cap off the regular season on Nov. 1 at home.

The Eagles and Hornets are meeting for their 13th all-time meeting, where Chelsea has won the last two meetings. While a playoff spot may not be on the line in this meeting, it will be a chance for Oak Mountain to gain bragging rights back for the first time since 2021.