By Lee Davis
The opening of the 2014 football season was a new world for the Hoover Bucs, but it wasn’t feeling all that brave.
Hoover had begun respectably enough on Aug. 23, as the Bucs fell to Miami Central by a late field goal in a made-for-television game on ESPN. The next week was far worse. Georgia’s Colquitt County, led by former Hoover coach Rush Propst, routed the Bucs 35-14.
Surprisingly, a team that had designs on the mythical national championship had started off 0-2.
After two unsuccessful out-of-state forays, Hoover began to look like its old self in its Class 7A Region 3 opener, producing just enough offense to subdue Mountain Brook 12-0 Friday night.
“It took us a while to get going, but I’m happy with the win,” Buc quarterback Jack Hutcheson said. “We’ll go back and see where we made mistakes.”
Hoover was far from perfect, netting only 282 total yards and losing two fumbles, but still raised its record to 1-2. Mountain Brook fell to 0-2.
At the end of the day the Bucs earned a shutout victory against a region opponent, and that was enough.
“We’re playing well on defense, but we’re not executing on offense,” Hoover coach Josh Niblett said. “It’s not that we are playing terrible, we just aren’t executing that well.”
Niblett was right about his team’s defensive unit. It held the Spartans to only 80 yards of total offense.
Hoover’s first score came on a 33-yard field goal by Hunter Schmith with 6:30 left in the second quarter, giving the Bucs a 3-0 halftime advantage.
Schmith added a second field goal–this time from 31-yards out–late in the third period.
The Bucs iced the game when Hutcheson connected with Alex Elam on a 68-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Then Hoover’s defense kept doing its job.
“We don’t really worry about what the offense is doing,” Buc linebacker Darrell Williams said. “We try to keep fewer points on the board for the other team and try to pitch shutouts.”