MOUNTAIN BROOK - The Vestavia Hills Rebels take down a six-game Mountain Brook winning streak as they win a 35-10 non-region game at Spartan Stadium on Friday night. The Rebels dominated for much of the game, and the defense created two turnovers and a few red zone stops on fourth down to seal the win over Mountain Brook. The Spartans had opportunities to score more points but fell short on a few drives in the red zone.
Vestavia Hills has played a hurry-up offense the last two years, and it didn't slow them down in these humid, muggy conditions. "I thought our pace wore them down a little bit in the first half," said Rebels head coach Robert Evans. "JP played a fairly clean game, and when he plays well for us, we will have success more times than not. I thought our team was the tougher team tonight, and that is no disrespect to Mountain Brook. Our numbers and depth showed up tonight. Our guys were dropping left and right, depth charts were out, and we had guys playing on third and fourth strings. This is a very good rival win for us."
Mountain Brook (0-1) scored first in the game after holding the Rebels offense to a three-and-out and drove right down the field for a field goal. Harrison Fell kicked a 29-yard field goal, and Mountain Brook took a 3-0 lead early in the game.
Vestavia Hills (1-0) came right back to score. With 5:45 left in the first quarter, John Paul Head scored on a 2-yard touchdown run, and the Rebels took a 7-3 lead. With 3:15 left in the first quarter, Head scored on a 29-yard touchdown run around the right side of the line for a score. With the touchdown, Vestavia Hills took a 14-3 lead.
Cole Gamble and the Spartans offense led Mountain Brook down the field after the Rebels touchdown but came up empty on a 4th down and two at the Rebels' two-yard line. With 2:17 left in the first half, Head tossed a ball to five-star defensive lineman Jordan Ross for a 5-yard touchdown pass play. With the score, the Rebels led 21-3. "JP had the choice to run it or throw it," added Evans. "All you have to do is throw it up, and we have an athletic player that can go after it. Jordan loves doing it, and he has unbelievable hands. So he is a weapon in the red zone, and we need to continue to use him."
After the Ross touchdown reception, two plays later with Mountain Brook with the ball, Ross sacked the Spartans quarterback, showing his unbelievable speed to the quarterback. "We have been working on the offense-heavy package all season," said Rebels DL Ross. "I was hoping to catch the ball, and it felt like I was in a movie. I just wanted to prove everyone wrong on getting the sack, but scoring the touchdown was nice. It felt great to get the win here tonight."
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Rebels defense came up with stops, and the offense kept scoring in the game. With 3:46 left in the third quarter, Head scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. With the score, Vestavia Hills led 28-3 and never looked back.
With 9:07 left in the fourth quarter, Stuard Andrews scored on a 5-yard touchdown setup by a couple of big Gamble runs. With the score, Mountain Brook cut into the Vestavia Hills lead by a score of 28-10. With 8:52 left in the game, Vestavia Hills came back to score on a Chase Webb 99-yard kickoff return right after the Mountain Brook touchdown. With the score, Vestavia Hills took a 35-10 lead and went on for the rivalry win.
Head completed 13-of-18 passing for 127 yards with a touchdown and interception, along with 119 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns. Gamble had a big night for the Spartans, as he had 215 yards on 24 carries.
With the crazy heat and humidity this week, both teams had to battle the elements in practice and in the game tonight. "I will sleep good tonight," said Rebels QB senior Head. "This feels like winning state in baseball. Our biggest rival and we got the win. I told coach I can take the big opportunities and I took it with pride for my team. I had to get an IV at halftime, carrying jugs and water around at school like a wrestler. In a high school game, I have never played in this type of extreme heat."
Next for both teams, Vestavia Hills will host 6A Homewood, while Mountain Brook will travel to 7A James Clemens.