VESTAVIA HILLS, Alabama -- The Vestavia Hills Rebels used a stingy defense to get the non-region win over Shades Valley at Thompson Reynolds Stadium on Homecoming Night on Friday night. The Rebels scored a touchdown in both halves to get the win, while the offense sluggish, the defense stepped up on the night when they needed to.
Vestavia Hills (4-1, 2-1) had just over 200 yards of offense and had some struggles during the game. "I will take a win," said Rebels head coach Buddy Anderson. "We played hard, made some mistakes, but we will correct those mistakes. We will correct those mistakes and get better. We didn't get anybody hurt, thank goodness and we will get ready for the next part of our region." There next part of their region is games with Hewitt-Trussville, Thompson and Hoover.
The game started with the Shades Valley defense turned away Vestavia Hills on their 35-yard line and the Mounties took over on downs. Shades Valley went on a 16-play drive down to the Rebels 5-yard line but Cole Johnston picked off the Mounties pass and turn away the Shades Valley best drive of the night. Freshman quarterback Earl Woods had to step in as QB Isaac Sims is lost for the season due to injury and QB Drew Olds is recovering from an injury and hopes to be back next week against Clay-Chalkville. "We knew the starting quarterback was out but we didn't know the backup was hurt," added Anderson. "That boy (Woods) did a great job, they had a great game plan and they have some rough injuries but I think they will bounce back and win some football games."
Vestavia Hills scored first in the game when they went on their own long drive of the game. The Rebels took over seven minutes on a drive that ended on a Taiyo Crawford 10-yard touchdown run off left tackle. With the score, the Rebels took a 7-0 lead with 2:41 left in the half.
The Vestavia Hill defense forced a three-and-out and took the ball in Mounties territory. A few plays later Rebels kicker Matthew McMeans kicked a 36-yard field goal to give Vestavia Hills a 10-0 halftime lead. "This is classic Vestavia football right here," said Rebels QB Eli Sawyer. "Buddyball football. We are happy to play for him. We have to correct some mistakes and get better for our run starting in our region next week."
Vestavia Hills scored on their second drive in the second half. The drive started on the Mounties 49-yard line. The Rebels had a 3rd and one play that resulted in a 5-yard loss and looked to punt, but on the punt a 5-yard running into the kicker brought the ball to a 4th and one. Grainger West converted on the 4th down run play and the Rebels drive was still going. With 7:34 left in the game, Sawyer found Wells Watts on a 8-yard slant pass play and a Rebels touchdown. With the score, Vestavia Hills led 17-0 and that was all the Rebels defense needed to get the non-region win.
For Vestavia Hills, Sawyer completed 13-of-23 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown. Skylar McKee had 30 yards on three receptions. Running back A.J. Powell led the ground game with 55 yards on 10 carries for the Rebels.
For Shades Valley, Woods was 10-of-14 passing for 54 yards and an interception while A.J. Williams had 60 yards on 18 carries for the Mounties. Linebacker Sam Howard was a force stopping the Rebels run game for most of the night.
Up next for both teams, Vestavia Hills will travel to Hewitt-Trussville next week. It will be the first time that the Rebels have played in the new Huskies Stadium while Shades Valley will host Clay-Chalkville.