The first state championship game Christian Bell and Hoover (Ala.) High School won to kick off a new dynasty was in 2012, dominating Opelika (Ala.) at %%MATCH_10%% University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. After repeating in 2013 with a win over Auburn (Ala.) High at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide commitment was back at Jordan-Hare looking for a three-peat against fellow power Prattville (Ala.) High.
The defense smothered the Lions’ running game from the opening whistle and never looked back in a 35-21 victory.
“I’m a senior, so it was incredible;” Bell said. “It was great to leave a legacy behind for the guys under me. It’s bitter sweet. I may tear up…when I won the last two years it never hit me that I won a state championship. I hope this one does.”
Many senior classes at historic Hoover High School have won multiple titles, but this one, with Bell, Auburn commitment Darrell Williams, Mississippi State pledge Justin Johnson, three-star running back Bradrick Shaw, standout receiver Leonard Wood and title game MVP Marcus Webb among others -- has as good a resume as possible.
“In my opinion, we’re the best,” he said.
The Buc offense established its line of scrimmage dominance on the game’s first possession, marching down the field in 15 plays, mostly with power running.
So Bell and the boys had a 7-0 cushion before they even set foot on the field. Still, Prattville nearly answered before the defense flexed its muscle in stopping Keith Washington and company four times from inside the 5-yard line.
“I don’t think they have done that this year, it really fed us energy on defense,” he said of the hot start. “Then the goal line stand was big-time.”
With the game, in which Bell notched two quarterback hurries in addition to a pair of registered tackles, capping the three-star Scout defensive end projection's prep career his attention turns to his future at the Capstone.
“I love it, I love it. I’m a solid commit,” he said. “I think ‘Bama is going to win (the SEC Championship) it.”
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior has been recruited as a JACK linebacker by Nick Saban and company, a position that won’t be a big change from what coach Josh Niblett asks him to do at Hoover.
“It’s kind of what I play right now,” he said. “It helps me a lot, that’s the reason they offered me. They saw that I can do it out here.”
Bell is Scout’s No. 41 defensive end in the class of 2015.
Bell in action earlier this fall:
Jason Caldwell contributed to this report.