Photo courtesy of Hoover City Schools.
1212 Hoover Football for State Championship ArticleHoover High quarterback Connor Short has thrown for 30 touchdowns during the Bucs' undefeated season. Hoover will face Opelika in the Super 6 6A Finals on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in Auburn.
The Hoover Buccaneers (14-0) are headed to their fifth straight Super 6 title game this Friday, and the only thing standing between the team and a record nine Alabama 6A Championships are the Opelika Bulldogs (10-4).
Hoover could be feeling confident in its chances – the Bucs defeated Opelika in their final game of the regular season 30-7 – but Head Football Coach Josh Niblett said he told his team this week, “Don’t let your past dictate your future.”
“I don’t know why you would become overconfident when you’re playing in the state championship,” Niblett said. “It’s one game, and they’ve worked entirely too much to let something like that come into their heads. To us, we know we’re playing second best team in the state.”
Opelika is on a four-game winning streak through the Alabama High School Athletic Association Playoffs, wrapping up the run with a defeat of Carver-Montgomery last week 35-21. Hoover handled its semi-final opponent Clay-Chalkville with ease, winning 44-20.
The two will clash the 6A state championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. It’s the third consecutive trip to the championship game for Hoover, which came away empty-handed in 2010 and 2011 in brutally close losses to Daphne and Prattville, respectively.
“We’ve done something really special here,” Niblett said. “Hoover has been in the finals the last five years (2012 being the fifth). As a team we talked about climbing the mountain of greatness, so for us it’s not about getting a ring and ring and a trophy, it’s about being the best in the state.”
Behind quarterback Connor Short and running back Calen Campbell, the Bucs’ offense has posted 513 points in its undefeated season, and the defense has allowed only 136.
“All our kids have role in what we do, that’s the reason we are where we are right now,” Niblett said. “It’s about all of our guys doing their job – that’s the thing that has separated us from other teams this year.”
Niblett said he believes the game at Jordan-Hare is like a home game for the Bulldogs, whose campus is only a few miles away, but he encouraged Hoover fans to make the trip.
“Everything these kids put in from last January to this point is something special,” he said. “They haven’t put in more than anybody else, but takes a lot, and they should be supported for those efforts.”
Getting ready for the game:
• Tickets can be purchased at super6al.com for $10.
• A bonfire and pep rally will be held at Hoover High School tonight at approximately 7 p.m. Visit facebook.com/pages/Hoover-Bucs-Football for more.
• Student charter buses leave for the game at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
• The Bucs Pre-Game Party will be held at the Auburn University Student Activity Building at 4 p.m. Cost is $10
• Buc Walk at the stadium at 5:15 p.m.
Aug. 23 - Florence, 26-7
Aug. 31 - @ South Panola, Miss., 35-10
Sept. 7 - @ Hueytown, 45-6
Sept. 14 - Jackson-Olin, 50-0
Sept. 21 - @ Northridge, 55-7
Sept. 28 - @ Vestavia Hills, 35-15
Oct. 5 - Bessemer City, 38-7
Oct. 12 - @ Hillcrest, 31-14
Oct. 19 - Minor, 14-0
Oct. 26 - @ Tuscaloosa County, 28-10
Nov. 1 - Opelika, 30-7
Nov. 9 - Shades Valley (Playoffs), 38-7
Nov. 16 - Pell City (Playoffs), 49-2
Nov. 23 - Vestavia Hills (Playoffs), 21-7
Nov. 30 - Clay-Chalkville (Playoffs), 44-20