MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Junior place-kicker Towns McGough kicked a 36-yard field goal with only 2:31 left in the game to give Auburn a 17-14 win over Hoover in Friday’s 17th annual AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl. Hoover had a key turnover late in the game that set up the Tigers winning score.
"We had a lot of fight and scrap, they have a great football team, and that number one is a load," said Tigers head coach Keith Etheredge. "We had a couple of hiccups on the blocked punt that they turned into a touchdown, but we played great on offense and defense. We moved the ball; we didn't get it much in the end zone but scored when needed."
The Hoover offense came alive on their second series when LaMarion McCammon went for a big run along with Ahmari Williams. The Bucs decided to go with the jumbo package and brought in linebackers Bradley Shaw and Kaleb Jackson to run the ball a few times for the Bucs. Late in the drive, Hoover could have tried for a short field goal attempt but decided to go for it but was just inches stopped at the Auburn 15-yard line.
Auburn takes over the ball deep into their own territory but drives 85-yards for a score. Quarterback Clyde Pittman hit Logan Blomeyer on a long pass play to set up the Tigers first score of the game. Three plays later, with 8:01 left in the second quarter, DV Williams scored on a 2-yard touchdown run for the Tigers. After a Bucs three and out, Auburn was on the move again.
A Harsin pass to Ean Nation put the Tigers deep into Bucs territory, and Auburn was looking to score again as they had the ball at the Hoover 25-yard line. A few plays later, Williams dives into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown run, and Auburn leads 14-0 with 3:48 left in the half. Hoover took over and drove down deep inside Auburn territory but ran out of time as Auburn took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Bucs had to punt around midfield while Peyton Argent booted deep inside Auburn territory inside the 5-yard line. On fourth down, Auburn had to kick, Keith Christein blocked the punt, and Devan Carlisle pounced on the ball in the end zone for a Bucs touchdown. With 7:26 left in the third quarter, Hoover just trailed 14-7. The Bucs defense was good for most of the night but did a great job of not letting Auburn drive the ball in the second half.
With 11:52 left in the fourth quarter, Williams scored on a 27-yard touchdown run, and the game was tied early in the fourth quarter. Auburn created two turnovers in the fourth quarter and had a short field when McGough kicked the game-winning field goal late.
"We knew coming into this game we were going to be a little limited tonight," said Bucs head coach Wade Waldrop. "We were very conservative. We played pretty well on defense in the second half, but you can't have turnovers in the fourth quarter and expect to win. Hats off to Auburn, a good football team, but I like our team and where I think we can go from here and where we want to be. I thought our defense played all night. We have a lot to work on, but we will find out where we are."