1 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-12.jpg
2 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-11.jpg
3 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-10.jpg
4 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-9.jpg
5 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-8.jpg
6 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-7.jpg
7 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-6.jpg
8 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-5.jpg
9 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-4.jpg
10 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-3.jpg
11 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_-2.jpg
12 of 12
Hoover defeats Buckhorn_.jpg
The Hoover Bucs began their march toward a threepeat as state champions by dominating Buckhorn 38-13 in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.
On their opening drive, the Buckhorn offense made things interesting, briefly, with a touchdown to draw first blood and an early 7-0 lead.
Enter Bradrick Shaw.
Hoover’s senior tailback thrashed the Buckhorn defense for a 95-yard touchdown drive highlighted by two vicious stiff-arms on Buckhorn defenders. By the end of the first half, Shaw had scampered for 151 yards and had led Hoover to a 31-7 lead.
Shaw’s first-half explosion paced the Bucs offense, which totaled a whopping 330 yards by intermission.
Some of the most important yards came at the end of the first half. After a Marcus Webb touchdown run put the Bucs up 24-7, Hoover held Buckhorn and forced a punt. Starting at the Bucs' 40-yard-line with 1:30 left in the half, Hoover quarterback Jack Hutcheson completed two passes, including a 46-yard bomb to Justin Johnson, to set up yet another Webb rushing score.
After their early touchdown, Buckhorn was stifled by the powerful Hoover defense. In the fourth quarter, as a Buckhorn drive had crossed midfield, an pass toward the sideline was intercepted by All-American defensive end Darrell Williams and returned for a touchdown and the final Hoover score.
According to Hoover coach Josh Niblett, the Bucs' success was a function of hard work and preparation.
“Buckhorn is a good football team and had been playing well,” Niblett explained. “They beat the top team in their region two weeks ago, which told us they are playing well at the right time of the year.”
The Hoover defensive success, according to Niblett, was especially meaningful. “Offensively, they use a lot personnel groupings and formations to keep you off balance. They can be a power team or spread you out to get out to their playmakers on the perimeter.”
Coming in to the game, the Hoover mission was clear. “We had to worry about us and execute in all three phases,” Niblett said. "We needed to build off the passion and energy we played with last week. This is what we play for, this time of the year. Our program knows and understands that.”
Next week, the Bucs continue their march toward glory by hosting region rival Tuscaloosa County. The Wildcats earned next week’s trip to Hoover with a shocking upset of heavily favored Bob Jones of Madison.