Hoover 35, Prattville 21
Hoover High School scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half Wednesday night and held on to beat Prattville 35-21 at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium to claim the first Class 7A state football championship in AHSAA state playoff history.
Coach Josh Niblett’s Bucs (12-2) won their third state title in a row, 12th game in a row, captured their 39th straight win against AHSAA competition and their 11th state football crown in school history. Game MVP Marcus Webb rushed 22 times for 153 yards and one touchdown to earn MVP honors. Teammate Bradrick Shaw added 101 yards and two scores on 19 tries as Hoover piled up 244 yards on the ground.
The Bucs scored first, taking the opening drive 80 yards on 12 plays culminating with quarterback Jack Hucheson’s 7-yard pass to Quincy Cox for the touchdown. The march ate up 5:37 of the first quarter and set the tone with the strong running attack.
Webb scored on a 20-yard run midway through the second quarter and Shaw followed with a 5-yard TD run with 2:04 left in the half.
Prattville (11-3) cranked up its offense a minute later when quarterback Keith Washington connected with Seth Knotts for a 50-yard touchdown pass to cut the Hoover lead to 21-7.
But the Bucs were not done, however. Leonard Wood scored with 20 seconds left in the half on a 41-yard pass from Hutcheson to take a 28-7 lead into intermission. Hutchison finished 9-of-15 for 150 yards and two TDs with Alex Elam the leading receiver with three catches for 67 yards.
Coach Chad Anderson’s Lions drove 67 yards on nine plays to open the third quarter and cut the lead to 28-14 on Washington’s short sneak into the end zone. Hoover bounced right back on Shaw’s 20-yard TD run two minutes later to stretch its lead to 35-14.
Prattville closed out the scoring when Derek Gappa hauled in a 41-yard TD pass from Washington with 4:51 to play. Washington finished 11-of-23 for 170 yards with Knotts catching five passes for 170 yards. Gappa also had five receptions for 86 yards. Joseph Burke had 58 yards rushing on 16 carries for the Lions.
Defensively, Hoover linebacker Jeremiah Mood had a game-high 10 tackles and Micah Bagley had eight. Anthony Brown was in on seven stops with one sack.
Hoover has now won nine state championships since 2000, including 6A titles in 2012 and 2013. The last loss in-state came in a 35-34 loss to Prattville in the 2012 state championship game.
The Super 7 State Championships continue at Auburn Thursday with Dale County (14-0) facing Madison Academy (13-1) in the 3A finals at 11 a.m., Hubbertville (13-0) versus Maplesville (13-0) in the 1A championship at 3 p.m., and St. Paul’s (14-0) taking on Pleasant Grove (12-2) in the 5A finals at 7.
All games will be televised live over the Raycom Network.