Friday Night Lights Takes In Hoover Rivalry

HOOVER – Just the Hoover P.D. wasn’t enough to staff the 12th meeting of the two Hoover City High Schools. Nope, they even brought in the Park Rangers to help out. Turns out, Spain Park needed more help than that, as Hoover beat them for the dozenth time. The game was competitive for about the first one and a half quarters before the Bucs pulled away to win, 42-14.

Both sides had their share of prospects. The winners had more. To the categories:

SENIORS WHO SHINED: We covered Hoover’s upper class prospects ad nauseum two weeks ago against Thompson, so tonight a reminder that Alabama commitment Christian Bell and Auburn pledge Darrell Williams are top notch. Bell was around the quarterback much of the evening, and Williams had a sack off the edge. An unsung teammate of theirs, wide receiver Trey Brackett (6-0, 182) caught a slant route for a touchdown from five yards out, and looked good on a kick-off return.

For Spain Park, corner Michael Jackson (6-1, 185) and safety A.J. Smiley (6-3, 185) both had interceptions, albeit both with the game out of hand. Spain Park Head Coach Shawn Rainey said of Jackson, “He’s a physical kid that’d done a good job for us in coverage and he can run.” Rainey said Jackson is hearing mostly from Nebraska, Miami and Minnesota, each of whom has paid a visit to the school to see Jackson of late.

In a bit of Bama-on-Bama legacy violence, Smiley, whose dad Anthony was a defensive end in the Bryant era, blasted Bucs running back Marcus Webb out of bounds and was flagged. Webb’s dad of the same name played basketball for Wimp Sanderson at The Capstone. Speaking of Bama ties, Webb’s former teammate, Alabama freshman Marlon Humphrey, was on hand to cheer on his alma mater.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Hoover linebacker Jeremiah Moon continues to impress. He had a tackle for a loss and a sack on consecutive third quarter plays. He needs to add good weight at 6-4, 220, but has time. Corner P.J. Hall has become a guy opposing teams don’t throw at.

For the Jags, outside linebacker Perry Young is listed at 5-10, 190 but plays much bigger. He could develop into a strong safety at the next level. He is “a tackling machine,” as noted on Twitter by our own John Garcia.

SUPER SOPHS: Hoover tight end Quincy Cox (6-3, 205) began the night badly and finished it wonderfully. Cox dropped a first quarter pass down the seam for what would have been a 30-yard gain and first down. He didn’t stay down, and responded in the third quarter by running the same route and hauling in a 44-yard touchdown pass. He is also a tenacious blocker.

For the Jaguars, running back Larry Wooden (6-0, 170) didn’t play much, but when he got in, he showed breakaway potential.

FRESHMAN PHENOM: Due to a mild ankle injury, Hoover’s Khamari Brown (6-1, 255, defensive line) was held out, but he’s been seeing regular varsity action all year for the 7A power team he plays on. Said Bucs Coach Josh Niblett: “He’s got a chance to become a really, really good player. The biggest thing with Khamari is just staying healthy, and the game itself is faster than what you would normally play, especially coming out of middle school ball. He’s a big kid, and he’s a kid that understands the game. He’s worked tremendously hard every day. We’ve just got to keep him healthy is the biggest thing. He’s been banged up pretty much all year.”

NOTED AUTHOR: Speaking of Niblett, the former Alabama player from the Stallings era has a book out called 'Tunnel Vision,' and it’s already available on Amazon. I asked Niblett to tell me how that project came about.

“It’s a result of the inspiration from all the kids, all the coaches I’ve been around, all the communities I’ve lived in, and how I grew up,” Niblett said. “God’s blessed me tremendously, and to God be the glory. I felt like it was something from a motivational and leadership standpoint that maybe could make an impact on people’s lives. That’s what living’s about.

“There’s a little bit (in the book) about the time I was at Alabama, and how everything transpired coming out of high school (first at Southern Miss, then in Tuscaloosa), how I grew up with my dad being a coach, and how everything transpired starting out in coaching: in Oneonta, then in Oxford, and then to Hoover. I was blessed to have help from Tom Ward to write the book, and I just had an opportunity to try to express some thoughts in there that I would hope would make an impact on people’s lives.”

HOW ‘BOUT THAT THAI FOOD: Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of Thai food. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for spicy food. Then, I discovered The Asian Rim, owned by Roy and Paige Hockman. Paige’s son, Georgie Salem, is the centerfielder for the Alabama baseball team. I was fortunate earlier this year to be hosted by the Hockman’s to a potpourri of the menu at their restaurant. I guess they knew I love to eat.

To paraphrase their web site, “Voted Birmingham’s Best New Restaurant 2012 by & also awarded Best Interior Design 2013 by The American Interior Design Association (Hospitality Division), Asian Rim delights guests with many fresh & inventive sushi creations and their Singapore Pork Ribs or their award-winning Chiang Mai Scallops. Asian Rim features authentic Thai dishes, cravable Sushi (OK, that part's not for me), Pan-Asian infused originals and traditional American fare. Asian Rim is located at the intersection of I-459 & US Hwy 280 at The Colonnade. I can tell you it’s well worth your time. They even have a pet-friendly patio.

NEXT UP: A rare trip to Georgia by FNL, as the Gainesville Red Elephants, alma mater of one Blake Sims, travel to Sugar Hill to face the Lanier Longhorns, who feature top junior defensive line prospect Derrick Brown, among others.

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