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 Bucs Football “Springs” into 2018 Practice

                                                                                                     By Wayne Wood
   The Hoover Bucs Football Team is preparing for what will be another challenging schedule for the season of 2018. Coming off two straight state championship titles in 2016 & 2017 were preceded in this decade by state title in 2012, 2013, & 2014 and two runner-up spots in 2010 & 2011. The Bucs are accustomed to overcoming daunting challenges every season.
   Opening on a Saturday-August 25th double header on ESPN at the Hoover Met, the Bucs will play Pinson Valley who won the 2017 Alabama state 6-A title with a 15-0 record. The two teams have never played each other on the varsity level before. After playing several games against out-of-state teams on ESPN since 2005, this will be the first time to play an in-state opponent for the Bucs. The other game that day will be region opponent Hewitt-Trussville vs. Cedar Grove, Georgia.
   The Pinson Valley Indian’s head coach is former Auburn QB Patrick Nix whose son, Bo Nix, is one of the highest recruited QB’s in the state this year & has committed to play for his dad’s alma mater at AU. In fact, the Bucs play against three of the highest rated quarterbacks in the state in three of the first four games this year.
   On Friday-August 31st, the Bucs play at home against the St. Johns College High School Cadets who come from the Washington, D.C. area. St. Johns is one of the oldest military high schools in the nation (established in 1851). The Cadets won the 2017 WCAC championship & ranked high nationally against a very tough schedule. Looking at the early part of their 2018 schedule finds them playing John’s Creek from Georgia before they play at Hoover. The following week they host Miami-Central from Florida (whom the Bucs played on ESPN at home back in 2014) and then play IMG Academy from Florida (whom the Bucs played last year & again this year). The next two weeks they host Marietta, Georgia before going on the road to play Christian Brothers College HS in Missouri.
   They complete the regular season against Maryland area teams. Though the Cadets graduated star QB Kevin Doyle, they return seniors RB’s Keilan Robinson & Ron Cook along with 265-lb. sophomore RB Antwain Littleton. There are several college prospects on the team.
   Friday-September 7th will feature a regular season rematch from last year at the Hoover Met. That is when the Thompson Warriors (led by 5-star QB Taulia Tagovailoa) play the Bucs. The Warriors won the 2017 region title in beating the Bucs 32-25 (which was their first ever win in the series between the two schools). However, the Bucs later beat the Warriors at Thompson by a score of 31-12 in a state playoff semi-final rematch to advance to the state title game. It should be another highly attended game by fans.
   The Bucs travel to Hewitt-Trussville on September 14th to play the Huskies (led by rated QB Paul Tyson-a great grandson of legendary Alabama Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant). Last year, the Bucs played at Husky Stadium in the 2nd round of the state playoffs and won 56-21.
   A visit to play the Oak Mountain Eagles on September 21st will be followed by an off-week on September 28th. The Bucs play at home on October 5th against the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats.
   On October 12th, Hoover travels to Spain Park to play the rival Jags. Last year, the Bucs struggled to win 27-24 in a comeback victory late in the 4th quarter. On October 19th is a road trip to Vestavia Hills where last year the Bucs beat the Rebels 17-7. Returning home to the Met on October 26th, the Bucs play the Mountain Brook Spartans (whom they beat in another 10-point win last year, 31-21).
   On November 2nd, the Bucs again host the powerful IMG Academy Ascenders from Florida. IMG is a highly ranked national team loaded with 5-star recruits from across the nation & schedule teams across the nation such as playing at 2017 national champion Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California. IMG won at the Met last year by a score of 32-21.
   The Alabama state high school football playoffs begin the following week and it is the time which Hoover Football looks forward to. The Bucs are accustomed to tremendous challenges year by year. It is the standard we at Hoover High School expect, set and take on.