By Rubin E. Grant
When discussing who has the best Over the Mountain high school athletic program, Hoover usually is the first one that comes to mind.
The Bucs, who are accustomed to winning multiple state championships in a variety of sports, have been the gold standard for the first two decades of the 21st century.
But for the just completed 2018-19 school year, the Bucs and everybody else took a backseat to Homewood.
The Patriots collected seven AHSAA Blue Map state championship trophies, more than any school in the ASHAA. It’s the second consecutive year the Patriots have won the most state championships, claiming six Blue Map trophies during the 2017-18 school year.
The Patriots’ seven championships in Class 6A this school year came in boys indoor track, girls indoor track, boys outdoor track, girls outdoor track, girls soccer, boys cross-country and girls cross-country.
“Seven is a bunch,” Homewood athletic director Doug Gann said. “I definitely think that’s the most we’ve won in a single school year. I am proud of what we accomplished.”
The AHSAA awarded 112 state titles during the school year with 64 schools winning at least one state title.
Scottsboro was runner-up to Homewood with five state titles, coming in boys cross-country, girls cross-country, boys indoor track, boys outdoor track, girls outdoor track.
Gann said a variety of factors contributed to the Patriots’ success.
“We’ve got great coaches and talented athletes,” Gann said. “We get great support from the board of education, our administration and our community. And our student body supports all our teams.”
Homewood had some other teams make a concerted run at titles. The boys golf team finished as runners-up for the third consecutive year. The boys soccer team reached the state tournament, losing in the semifinals to Fort Payne. The football team won 10 games and advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in 13 years before losing to eventual Class 6A champion Pinson Valley.
The softball team came within a win of reaching the state tournament and the boys basketball team lost in overtime in the subregional to eventual champion Pinson Valley.
Gann said athletic success is just one facet of successful extra-curricular activities at Homewood.
“It’s not all athletics at Homewood,” Gann said, mentioning the band, math team and show choir among some other highly successful programs.
Homewood Not Alone
Homewood wasn’t the only Over the Mountain school to win multiple AHSAA state championships.
Hoover and Mountain Brook both won four crowns. The Bucs won in girls basketball, boys soccer, boys indoor track and boys outdoor track. But Hoover didn’t win in football, failing to reach the championship game for only the third time since 2000.
With two-time Mr. Basketball Trendon Watford leading the way, Mountain Brook won a third straight Class 7A boys basketball title and added titles in girls indoor track, girls tennis and boys golf. The Spartans are the only school that has won more than 200 state titles, increasing their total to 231 this year.
Vestavia Hills won three titles, led by its girls soccer team that finished with a perfect 23-0 record and a No. 1 national ranking. The Rebels’ other two titles came in boys bowling and boys tennis.
Briarwood Christian (boys tennis and boys soccer) and Altamont (boys cross-country and boys outdoor track) won two titles.