After blocking his second punt of the night, the 6-4, 205-pound Cory Reamer sprang to his feet, scooped the ball and raced 12 yards for Hoover's second touchdown of the night. Reamer, a senior safety and Alabama commitment, blocked the punt after Prattville punter Josh DeBin mishandled the snap.
"I wasn't even expecting it because we weren't trying to block it," Reamer said. "I was trying to get a block on one of their players so we could try to return it for a touchdown. I saw him out of the corner of my eye fumble the snap and I paid attention to him for the rest of the time. He tried to step too far and the pocket collapsed and just got my hands on it and picked it up and ran."
Reamer's first blocked punt gave Hoover the ball inside Prattville territory and set up a 40-yard Chris Brown field goal with just under three minutes remaining in the first period.
"When I saw the opening I didn't think I was going to be able to get there," Reamer said. "I just laid out hoping I would get a hand on it. I just got my right arm on it and it felt great."
With Prattville down by 15 points and driving early in the fourth quarter, Reamer intercepted Prattville sophomore Larry Smith's pass allowing the Bucs to salt away the victory. Reamer's performance earned him Most Valuable Player honors in the championship game.
"I didn't expect to come out here and be MVP - it's a team effort," he said. "I'm not the only one player that came out and played tonight, it's been everybody. Being MVP is a great honor but I have to dedicate it to the rest of my players because they came out and performed and gave me some of the chances that I had to make big-time plays."
Reamer wants to earn early playing time for Alabama next season, but he said he would take some time to enjoy his third state championship first.
"I'm going to celebrate it for a couple of weeks. I'm going to celebrate till I get my ring and then I'll celebrate some more," Reamer said. "After that I'll probably start concentrating on getting down there and having a chance to play early. I'll have to work hard all this summer and try to be a player (at Alabama)."
Hoover quarterback Jarod Bryant led the Buccaneer offense, both in passing and rushing. He completed 12-of-23 passes for 208 yards with one touchdown and one interception. A 69-yard bomb late in the third quarter to Mason Duiett gave Hoover a 22-0 lead. Duiett finished the game with four catches for 96 yards.
Prattville's Bobby Greenwood, a 6-6, 240-pound top defensive line prospect, was neutralized for most of the night by a sound Hoover offensive line and Bryant's ability to run with the ball. Hoover had long drives at the beginning and end of the game, converting two third-and-medium plays to keep the ball away from the Prattville offense.
"We came in thinking shutout and the first drive lasted (13) plays so it kind of brought us down a little bit, brought us back to reality," Greenwood said. "That kills morale. You work so hard to try to stop them and its first down again."
Prattville's offense, quarterbacked by 6-2, 176-pound sophomore Larry Smith, totaled 191 yards on 63 plays compared to Hoover's 291 yards on 58 plays. Smith was 12-of-28 passing and had one touchdown and three interceptions.
Prattville receiver Carlos Nixon, a 6-2, 180-pound junior, had six receptions for 102 yards and the Lions' only touchdown.
Hoover ended its season a perfect 15-0, and with what Bucs Head Coach Rush Propst said is "the best team ever at Hoover." Prattville ended its season with a 13-1 overall record.
Hurtado Leads Oneonta to Title
The Class 3A State Championship game, held at Legion Field Thursday afternoon, was a thriller as the Oneonta Redskins defeated the Winfield Pirates 28-21. Miguel Hurtado led the way for the Redskins, with 93 yards rushing, two rushing touchdowns and four receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown catch. Oneonta finished a perfect season 15-0 while Winfield ended 2004 at 14-1.
"We do salute and yield to an outstanding Oneonta football team, but we will not salute anyone else in Class 3A," Winfield Head Coach Danny Adams said.
"Every young man that plays football for Winfield, from now on, will chase these guys. They set the standard. This football team is a lot like my momma's cooking. On its worst day, it's better than most."
Winfield was ahead 21-7 entering the fourth quarter of the game, but the Redskins made big play after big play to come back and win the game. Hurtado scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead touchdown, on a run for 29 yards with 3:52 left in the game.
"At halftime, we said forget about the game; forget about the trophy. It's all about character now," Oneonta Head Coach Josh Niblett said.
Winfield struck a damaging blow on its first offensive play of the game when the run-heavy team executed a 61-yard play-action touchdown pass from Blake Franks to Jeremy Porter for the game's first points.
"The biggest thing was turning the intensity up," Niblett said. "They hit the play-action pass on the first play of the game - it was a great play call by them. It takes a little bit of time to get the speed down. Our scout team couldn't simulate that in practice."
Winfield's Drake Hall, 5-8, 180 pounds, had another big night despite the loss , rushing for 115 yards and one touchdown. The state's leading rusher (2,600 yards) set a state record in scoring his 43rd touchdown run of the season in the first quarter of the game.
With 54 seconds left to go in the first quarter, Hall scored on a two-yard run to put the Pirates up 14-0.
The second quarter went slowly as each team punted on the first two possessions. With 1:55 left in the half, Hurtado scored on a one yard run, capping an eight play 65 yard drive in 2 :57. To end the first half, Will Vickery missed a 22-yard field goal. The score at halftime, Winfield 14, Oneonta 7.
Winfield was the only team to score during the third quarter when quarterback Blake Franks carried the ball into the end zone from nine yards out with 40 seconds left in the period. The score was the result of an 11 play, 58-yard drive.
In the fourth quarter, it was all about the Redskins. Anthony Mostella scored the first touchdown of the quarter, with a two yard run.
The Oneonta defense stiffened and caused Winfield to fumble the ball on the Redskins' 14-yard line. Three plays later, Hurtado caught a 14 yard touchdown pass from Brody Cornelius. After David Barnett kicked the extra point, the game was tied at 21-21 with seven minutes remaining.
The Oneonta defense rose to the challenge again and forced Winfield to punt. Hurtado finished his MVP performance with a 29-yard touchdown run. Barnett added the extra point to make the score, 28-21.
Winfield had one last chance after blocking an Oneonta punt with 1:44 left in the game, but on the first offensive play, quarterback Blake Franks was picked off by Lee Sims. All Oneonta had to do was kneel twice to end the game.
Class 3A State Champions Oneonta
Other key stats:
Winfield: Casey Elmore- 12, Adam Miles-11
Oneonta :Cameron Larue-10, Lucas Coffey-7
Total yards: Winfield-278, Oneonta-284