Hoover High School
Bucs vs. Rebels Football Series
By Wayne Wood
The football rivalry between the Hoover Bucs and the Vestavia Hills Rebels is a unique blend of intensity and bitterness yet just enough respect between the programs to ensure the continuance of it. The Bucs actually have played certain opponents (Mountain Brook, Shades Valley and Minor for instance) over a longer course of time but there were years where they did not play. Vestavia has been the longest continuing rivalry and there have been many great games. Very few contests were blowout victories and many were decided by a touchdown difference or less.
The teams first began playing in 1972 at a time when Vestavia was a young program and the Berry Bucs had been established for about 10 years. Through the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s many Vestavia students had gone to Berry until they formed their own school system. It was common for children in families to be split in attending different high schools. At Vestavia’s first pep rally for the game against the Bucs, there were nearly half the student body cheering for the Rebs and the other half cheering for the Bucs! They must have known something as the Bucs won big that night 45-0. The Bucs won big the next two years as well in 1973 (41-7) and 1974 (49-15).
Things got tighter in 1975 as the Bucs won 22-7 and in 1976 the Rebels got their first win by a score of 7-0. In 1977, the Bucs won 21-0 and went on to a state title. However, the Rebels began to prove that they were a championship caliber program as well in going to the state championship game the next 3 years from 1978-1980. While the Bucs won 21-14 in 1978, the Rebels went on to the state title game but lost to Jeff Davis 21-7. In 1979, the Bucs won 20-7 and the Rebels went on to barely lose the state title game to Enterprise 14-13. In 1980, it appeared the Bucs still had the Rebels’ number winning 14-7. However, the two met in a 1st round playoff rematch at Legion Field with the Rebels winning 7-0. The third time proved a charm later on as the Rebels got their state title with a 15-13 win over Parker.
In 1981, the Bucs won 28-0 and in 1982 won 21-3 and went on to a state title. However, the series was going to swing to the Rebels for awhile as they won 16-7 in 1983, 17-14 in 1984, 7-3 in 1985, 21-10 in 1986 and 17-14 in 1987. The Bucs broke the streak in 1988 winning 34-7 in the first game at The Met and won again in 1989 by a score of 16-7. The Rebels won 17-16 in 1990 but the Bucs won 35-0 in 1991 and 17-13 in 1992. In the last game in 1993 as being called the Berry Bucs they lost to the Rebels 24-10 and in the first game as the Hoover Bucs in 1994 they lost to the Rebs 17-14. The Bucs won 24-17 in 1995. The Rebels won 24-10 in 1996, 20-14 in 1997, 42-14 in 1998 and 38-28 in 1999. In 2000, the Bucs had the most talented team but couldn’t seem to shake the jinx of the Rebels and played poorly again in losing 34-31 yet they rebounded to go on and win a state title. In 2001, the Bucs finally broke the streak gaining their biggest margin win of the series whipping the Rebs 52-10.
The Bucs won 31-14 in 2002 and went on to another state title. In 2003, the Bucs were coming off a big emotional win over powerhouse Evangel Christian of Louisiana. They came into Vestavia and played flat in the first half getting down 21-0 but came back to make it a tight game yet losing 36-34. The two met again in the semi-finals of the state playoffs on the same field at Vestavia. In an exciting finish, the Bucs won 31-24 in two overtimes with a goalline stand at the end. The Bucs went on to another state title.
In 2004 the Bucs won 21-14 and in 2005 won 24-6 winning state titles again both years. In 2006, the Bucs traveled to Vestavia and came out with an exciting 28-24 win in the Rebels “strong smelling stadium.” They met again at The Met in the semi-finals with the Bucs winning another exciting contest 42-37. In 2007, the Bucs won at home by a score of 16-7 but lost 21-17 to the Rebs in the quarter-finals.
In 2008, the Bucs won 17-2. In 2009, the Bucs were down big at halftime and came back to make it a close game but still lost 30-27. Yet they rebounded and improved greatly and went on to another state title. In 2010, the Bucs won big 35-7.
The rivalry between the Hoover Bucs and Vestavia Rebels has been regarded as one of the most intense in the state as well as the nation. Both sides would certainly agree on that account. GO BUCS!