"Our best football week to week" are the words that describes the Oak Mountain Eagles to return to a playoff berth for the 2015 season. The Eagles know that AHSAA Class 7A Region 3 is no cupcake and need to bring their A-game every week for the Eagles to be successful.
Last season, the Eagles finished 10-2 and was defeated by Gadsden City in the second round of the playoffs and look to make a return trip with hard work that they put into the summer months. "Kids worked hard this summer and we addressed some needs on our team," said Head coach Chris Bell. "With only certain days of live contact its been a little hard to see where we need to be."
The Eagles offense with their option game gave teams fits last season. Gone is running back Harold Shader along with his leadership skills, but the Eagles have others to fill his role. This season, quarterback Warren Shader will lead the offense. Last season, Shader rushed and threw for over 1,000 yards on the season and his coach knows the balance is going to be the key for the Eagles offense. "Warren has great command of the offense along with so many intangibles that you just can't measure," said Head coach Chris Bell. "He curtain elevates the play around him. We are so fortunate to off him. As an option quarterback, he is the best one that I have ever coached. He is tough as nails, a true fighter. We would not be where we are without him."
The Eagles have other skilled players around the talented quarterback and know that they need to throw the ball 15 to 20 effective times a game to keep everyone honest on defense with the Eagles option offense. "If we can throw the ball, it forces the defense to cover more of the field," Bell added. "At the end of the day, it will open up more of our run game. That is who we are. Were not going to change that. Somebody is going to take one thing away from you so you better be able to do both." Halfback Daniel Salchert, who started from the third game last season, will get more carries and catches out of the backfield. "We expect for Daniel to do some work for us," said Bell. "He averaged over five yards per run last season." Also at halfback, Coleman Reeves will get some touches as another tough runner for the Eagles. "Reeves is like Shader who is a lunch pail type of guy," Bell said. "He has good speed and is understanding the dive play where he needs to be at the right time on that play. Also, he can hit the corner and make something good happen."
On the Eagles defense linebacker Josh Jones is a good and steady player as you can have. "Josh is such a smart kid on the football field, he gets a quick sense of what the opposing offense wants to do," said Bell. "He can read, identify plays and react accordingly." Free safety Payton Youngblood has great ball skills and range. Avery Holsomback plays a hybrid, defensive end/linebacker that has a lot of ability and can make the big play for the Eagles.
At corner you have Mitchell Jones who started all 12 games and made some big plays last season. Hall Morton was the nickle back last season will make the move to corner. Armond Lloyd looks to anchor the defensive front for the Eagles. "Armond had a great summer and fall camp so far," said Bell. "Were excited about his leadership that he brings to the defensive line." Zach Pierce will be another defensive end who will get his first starting job as a senior on the Eagles defense.
Oak Mountain opens up with Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa and plays Briarwood Christian along Pell City in other non-region games, but plays in the toughest region in the state in Class 7A Region 3.