Fresh off their 2014 Class 7A state championship, their third title in a row, the Hoover Buccaneers have added another out-of-state power to the football schedule for 2015.
Hoover High Athletics Director Andy Urban announced the Bucs will host the Manatee (Fla.) Hurricanes on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Hoover Met.
The game will be in week two of the 2015 season after Hoover travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to play Oakland High School to open the schedule.
Manatee finished the 2014 season with a 12-2 record, losing in the semifinals to eventual state champion Apopka.
Urban said he is excited about the matchup between two of the top teams in the Southeast.
“This is a great opportunity for our football program, our players, and the entire community. We are ecstatic to be able to host Manatee here next season.”
Manatee High School has an enrollment of 2,400 students and competes in Class 8A, which is Florida’s largest classification, and has won five state championships in the program’s history.
Coach Josh Niblett commented on the success of the Manatee program, and what it means for Hoover to face a team of its caliber.
“We pride ourselves at Hoover in playing the most prominent programs in the country such as former national champion Manatee, Fla. This is the kind of matchup that your school, your fans, and your program seek for improvement and identity.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity make this happen,” Manatee High School AD Jason Montgomery said. “All great teams love great competition and this has all the hallmarks of a classic. The chance for an early season matchup of two of the South’s best programs is one both schools will look forward to.”
Hoover opened last season by hosting Miami Central of Florida and traveling to Colquitt County, Ga. The Bucs lost both games, but ultimately there was no shame in that; Miami Central won its third straight Florida 6A championship and Colquitt County captured the Georgia 6A title.
Oakland High School, Hoover’s opening foe, was 12-2 in 2014, losing in the 6A state semifinals to Maryville, the eventual state champion. Oakland has won three state championships, the most recent in 2008, and has been runner-up twice. The game will be part of a doubleheader at Middle Tennessee’s Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium and will be carried on ESPNU. Class 6A state champion Clay-Chalkville will take on Blackman in the other game.