It’s been said that defense wins football championships. While that may not be universally true, it certainly is for the Hoover Bucs. Hoover shut out the Thompson Warriors, 9-0, to capture the Class 7A Region 3 title for the second consecutive season on Friday night at Thompson.

It was only the second time that a Mark Freeman-coached Thompson team failed to score in a game, with the first coming on Oct. 6, 2016 in a 20-0 setback to Hoover. The last time a non-Hoover team shut out Thompson was on Oct. 17, 2014 when Tuscaloosa County beat the Warriors, 10-0.

This time, the Bucs defense actually outscored the Warriors, contributing a safety to seal the victory when Andrew Parrish tackled Thompson quarterback Zach Sims in the end zone. The Bucs lone touchdown came on a 1-yard run by LaMarion McCammon of Hoover’s opening drive.

Jay Avery and Jordan Norman had interceptions for the Bucs, who finish the regular season 9-1 overall and 7-0 in region play. The Bucs will play Bob Jones in the Class 7A playoffs on Nov. 4. Thompson (7-3, 6-1) will play Huntsville in the first round of the playoffs.

*Oneonta running back Fluff Bothwell, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior, was unstoppable on Friday night in a 49-21 Class 4A Region 6 victory over Good Hope. Bothwell rushed for 436 yards with touchdown runs of 1, 52, 61, 63, 39 and 85 yards. His total rushing yards were the 11th best in AHSAA history and the second most this season behind the 476 yards gained by Handley’s Jay Haynes.

Oneonta finishes region play with an 8-1 overall record and 5-1 mark in region play. Oneonta, Cherokee County and Etowah tied for the region title.

*Priceville’s explosive offense failed to score in the first half of Friday’s Class 4A Region 8 championship game at Randolph. In the second half, though, they let standout running back Mason Cartee carry the load and he carried Priceville to a 35-21 victory that capped the first perfect regular season in program history.

Cartee, a senior, rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass from Jackson Prickett. Jaylen Mosley added a touchdown run. Andrew Hunter threw three touchdown passes for Randolph.

*UMS-Wright head coach Terry Curtis moved to within one victory to tying Buddy Anderson for all-time career wins in the state with 346. Perhaps more importantly, at least for now, was the top-seeded team in Class 5A found a way to rally to beat No. 7 Faith Academy, 21-20, and claim the Region 1 title.

Cole Blaylock scored on a 24-yard run late in the fourth quarter and Kingston added the deciding extra point. UMS-Wright trailed 20-7 at halftime.

*Theodore is your Class 6A Region 1 champion after a thrilling 27-26 victory over Saraland on Friday night. The unbeaten teams put on a show with Miguel Frias’ field goal providing the final points in the fourth quarter.

 *First-year Vestavia Hills head coach Robert Evans has the Rebels in the playoffs for the first time since 2019. The Rebels clinched the No. 4 seed from Class 7A Region 3 with a 59-18 thumping of Tuscaloosa County. John Paul Head threw five touchdown passes and ran for another in the win.

*Excel’s growth under second-year coach Jason Phillips includes the program’s first region title since 1997. The Class 3A Panthers clinched the Region 1 title with a 27-14 victory over W.S. Neal on Friday night.

*Millry has been knocking at the door for a region title the past three seasons. This year, Millry kicked the door in with a 36-14 Class 1A Region 1 victory over Leroy. Millry entered the game as the No. 9 ranked team in Class 1A, while Leroy was No. 2.

Millry quarterback Daylon Edmunds had four touchdown passes in the game.

*Huntsville qualified for the Class 7A playoffs on Friday night and the Panthers did it the hard way. It took a 38-24 victory over Region 3 champion Austin to get Huntsville into the playoffs. Austin entered the game with a seven-game winning streak.

Huntsville last went to the playoffs in 2017 and that was the only season the Panthers played in postseason since moving to Class 7A in 2014.  

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