Photograph by Ted Melton
Shaw runs over Vestavia in comeback win
Hoover's star running back Bradrick Shaw runs through a defender of arch rival Vestavia in the Bucs' historic comeback win.
Trailing 28-10 to their arch rival, the Hoover Bucs staged a comeback for the ages by scoring 21 unanswered points and stealing a 31-28 victory over the Vestavia Hills Rebels.
The win puts the number one ranked Bucs (14-0) in the Class 6A state championship game next Friday against Auburn in Tuscaloosa's Bryant-Denny stadium.
On a team loaded with stars, junior quarterback Jake Hutcheson served as the architect of the comeback. Because Vestavia concentrated their defensive efforts on stopping the Bucs' star back Bradrick Shaw, Hutcheson orchestrated the Hoover comeback via the air attack. Passing for 172 yards, Hutcheson completed two touchdown passes on critical third-down plays.
Vestavia's star running back Jordan Johnson closed his splendid 2013 season with 166 yards on 24 carries. Johnson's, and Vestavia's success in the running game was a far cry from their previous meeting with Hoover, in which the Rebels averaged less than one yard per rush.
Hoover jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead thanks to a Bradrick Shaw touchdown run. However, the Rebels quickly returned serve with their own scoring drive. On their next possession, the Bucs' punt was blocked and Vestavia recored on Hoover's three-yard-line. Two plays later, Vestavia owned a 14-7 lead and a belief that they could win the game.
However, after Vestavia's lead reached 28-10, the Hoover defense stiffened and completely shut down their arch rival.
The win clinched Hoover's sixth consecutive trip to the state championship game, and marked the 29th victory in a row for the nation's number three team.