HOOVER, Alabama -- The Hoover Bucs used a dominating performance and defeated Pinson Valley 52-14 today at the Hoover Met in front of a national-televised audience on ESPN. The Bucs scored two touchdowns in each of the four quarters to defeat last seasons Class 6A Champions in Pinson Valley.
Hoover came out early and fast and let it all go for four quarters on offense and defense. "First of all I give God all the glory," said Bucs head coach Josh Niblett. "For us I know that we have big play capability on offense and the biggest thing is to put those guys in the best situations that we can. Let our athletes go make plays. We were able to do that today."
One of the biggest question marks coming into this game was the quarterback play of Robby Ashford due to his baseball injury and his lack of quarterback throwing during the summer months. One thing to you can bank on though is the development of quarterbacks that Coach Niblett does with his Hoover Bucs QBs. Add Ashford to that list of quarterbacks developed by Coach Niblett. Ashford completed 20-of-27 passing for 356 yards in four touchdowns in his first work of significant playing time at Hoover. "I am proud of Robby, today was big for him," added Niblett. "The biggest thing for him is he is still learning everything that we are doing. He has to get those physical reps, he has a lot of mental reps but to get in the game physically was big so today was big for him. He did a great job of reading coverages cause they are going to play George (Pickens) a little big different. He did a great job of hitting some plays underneath and he threw some balls away and that is what I want him to do."
The combination of Ashford and Pickens scored the first two touchdowns in the game. The first one was when Ashford threw over the top between two defenders and Pickens went up and caught the ball in the back of the endzone for a 33-yard Bucs touchdown and the second one Pickens moved to the slot position and was loose in the secondary on a 28-yard touchdown play after breaking two tackles in the middle of the field. Hoover led 14-0 with :16 seconds in the first quarter. “We made a huge statement,” said Bucs wide receiver Pickens. “They were 6A state champs, so we knew they were good, but to beat them like this, we made a big statement. Coach Niblett has a lot of confidence in me so I just want to go out and help my team anyway possible for us to be successful.”
With 3:09 left in the half, Pinson Valley drove 80 yards on 11 plays and scored on a Bo Nix to Keyonteze Johnson 17-yard touchdown pass play for the Indians and the Hoover lead was cut in half at 14-7. On the ensuing kickoff, Pinson Valley kicked to Larry McComman and he took it 91-yards through the middle of the field for a Bucs score and Hoover led 21-7. With :46 seconds left in the half, the Bucs scored again on a Will Reichard 36-yard field goal to take a 24-7 lead in the halftime.
In the second half, Hoover scored on a 83-yard drive on 10 plays when Zach Elam scored on a 29-yard pass from Ashford and Hoover led 31-7 with 7:02 left in the 3rd quarter. With 4:03 left in the third quarter, Ashford found Zaxier Long on a 47-yard touchdown pass play on a double move in the middle of the field for the Bucs score. With the TD, Hoover led 38-7. Ashford came out of the game after the first hit but rebounded well. "That first hit sorta put me in shock to start the game," said Bucs QB Ashford. "I had to get back in the game. It felt great to get out on the field. It's been hard sitting out so much but getting this big win feels great."
With 9:42 left in the fourth quarter, Dylan Pauley scored on a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle for a score. Hoover led 45-7 early in the fourth quarter. Pinson Valley scored on a Jay Sharp 25-yard run and Hoover led 45-14 with 7:02 left in the game. Hoover scored the last touchdown with Kaulin Jackson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:10 left in the game and Hoover led 52-14.
In the game, the QB matchup between Ashford and Nix was mostly on the Hoover side. Nix completed 20-of-38 passing for 205 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad day for most quarterbacks but Pinson Valley needed him to double thos numbers for the Indians to have a chance. Johnson for the Indians had 12 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Sharp had 114 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown in the game. Kendall Thornton had 5.5 tackles to lead the Indians defense.
For Hoover, Pickens had 120 yards on 8 catches and two touchdowns. Elam had 79 yards on five receptions and a touchdown. McCammon had 186 of total yards in the game. Pauley had 73 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
Next week, Hoover hosts St. John’s College High School from Washington, DC. Pinson Valley will take on Ramsay a 5A school.