NORTHPORT, Alabama -- The Hoover Bucs defense gets two pick-six touchdowns and they go to defeat Tuscaloosa County 44-7 in a Class 7A, Regon 3 game on Wildcat Field Thursday night. The Bucs defense continues to impress on the season and gave up only 187 yards of offense to Tuscaloosa County.
Hoover (5-1, 3-1) played only 20 plays on offense in the first half but two pick 6's by safety Kory Chapman and linebacker Josh Smith gave the Bucs a 23-7 halftime lead that they didn't give up in the second half. "To God be the Glory, we struggled a little bit to get off the field but I thought offensively we scored early in the game so that was good," said Bucs head coach Josh Niblett. "I'm proud of our D, I'm proud the way they are playing, we are playing with an edge and playing fast right now. On offense, we are doing a better job of running the football. We have some RPO's built in so that is what we are doing right now. That is our identity."
Hoover scored first in the game on a quarterback Josh Lundy to Ray Hampton 7-yard touchdown pass play for the Bucs and Hoover led 7-0 with 8:07 left in the first quarter. With 6:30 left in the first quarter, Chapman picked off the first pick 6 pass from a Wildcats QB and raced 36-yards for the score and Hoover led 13-0 as the extra point failed. "I dropped down in the zone and made a play on the ball," said Bucs safety Chapman. "Then I saw green grass. Our preparation was good all week. On defense, we are on fire."
Hoover kept the scoring pressure on in the first quarter as Constantine Hontzas kicked a 27-yard field goal with 2:00 to go in the first quarter. With the score, Hoover led 16-0 late in the first quarter. After the kickoff, Tuscaloosa County scored on a Damien Taylor 80-yard touchdown explosion. With the score, the Wildcats cut the Bucs lead to 16-7. Taylor finished the game with 157 yards on 20 carries and the touchdown and has over 900 rushing yards on the season. The junior running back is one of the top backs in 7A football.
With 3:30 left in the half, Smith picked off a Wildcats pass and raced 45-yards for a Bucs touchdown. With that Bucs score it took all the wind out of the Wildcats sail as they were outscored 21-0 in the second half. "Our defense is pretty good. When we play together, we have good chemistry together and good things happen," said Bucs linebacker Smith. "We like when we get pick 6's because everyone is having fun to see who will get their next one."
In the third quarter, Anthony Hayes scored on a 4-yard touchdown run up the middle. Hayes met a Wildcat defender but busted through it at the goal line for the touchdown. With 8:41 left in the third quarter, Hoover led 30-7. With :36 seconds left in the third quarter, Lundy hit RJ Hamilton on a 7-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the endzone. With the score, the Bucs led 37-7 after three quarters.
With the score, Lundy played his final snap of the game and finished the game completing 19-of-24 passing for 184 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. "The biggest thing for Josh is to get in the game and get hit a little bit," added Niblett. "For him to make some plays and he did make some plays. Proud of him. We got Reader a few snaps at the end of the game so that was a good thing. We have two guys that know our offense and that is a good thing. We have to fix a few things and get better for next week."
With 6:59 left in the game, the Bucs scored their final touchdown on a Evan Reader to Hampton 7-yard touchdown pass play. Hoover went up 44-7.
Dylan Pauley rushed for 67 yards on 10 carries. Hayes had 45 yards on 7 carries. Hamilton had 4 receptions for 31 yards and the touchdown. Jamari Buye had 3 receptions for 50 yards. Cooper Tullo had 42 yards on 3 receptions for the Bucs.
On defense, Jeppa Kilgore had 8 tackles for Hoover while Christian Davis had 9 tackles for Tuscaloosa County.
Up next for both teams, Hoover will host Spain Park while Tuscaloosa County will travel to Oak Mountain.