Hoover quarterback Christopher Vacarella sets up to pass against Mountain Brook.
The Hoover Bucs, the top-ranked team in Class 7A, travel to Heardmont Park in Shelby County to face the Oak Mountain Eagles in a Class 7A, Region 3 tussle Friday.
The Bucs (3-0, 1-0) are coming off their toughest game of the season, a 21-14 win over Mountain Brook. P.J. Hall’s interception with less than five minutes left in the game set up a short drive that culminated in C.J. Sturdivant’s 9-yard scoring run that proved to be the difference.
Bucs turnovers and penalties almost cost Hoover its 41st straight win against in-state competition. Leading 14-7 at halftime, the Bucs turned it over twice on fumbles forced by the Spartans’ Joe Donald. The second one resulted in a TD by Jacob Carroll to tie the game.
Hoover coach Josh Niblett was happy to get the win on a less-than-stellar night for the Bucs.
“Championship teams find a way to win when they’re not playing their best,” Niblett said after the game. “Defense played well tonight. Defense wins championships. They give you an opportunity to have a chance to win and they gave us a chance tonight.”
Oak Mountain, last year’s region runner-up, has had a tough start out of the gate. Missing coach Cris Bell, who was suspended, and quarterback Warren Shader and other players for various reasons in the opener, the Eagles fell 31-0 to Class 6A Hillcrest. Last week, they took a 35-26 loss at Vestavia Hills.
At 0-2 and 0-1 in the region, the Eagles have their backs against the wall. Oak Mountain has never beaten Hoover in 12 meetings. The Bucs won 35-0 last season.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Heardmont Park. Tickets this week will not be sold in the Athletic Office or at Bryant Bank on Highway 150. They may be purchased online at www.preptix.com/hoover.