Auburn, Ala.--The old saying that defense wins championships held true in Wednesday night’s Class 7A final between Hoover and McGill-Toolen as the Bucs dominated the line of scrimmage and got two touchdowns from running back C.J. Sturdivant in a 17-7 victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
It was the 11th title for Hoover and the fourth in the last five years for Coach Josh Niblett’s program.
Entering the game allowing just 9.7 points per game, Hoover’s defense swarmed Bubba Thompson and the McGill-Toolen offense for 48 minutes. Holding the Yellow Jackets to minus 43 yards rushing and sacking the quarterback nine times, the Bucs stole the show with their defensive effort.
Bowling Green commitment Kholbe Coleman earned MVP honors for Hoover, finishing with seven tackles, one sack and three and a half tackles for losses. Christon Taylor was perhaps the player of the game however, finishing with three sacks and five tackles for losses in the contest.
Offensively Sturdivant’s 96 yards and two touchdowns led the way for Hoover with Vonte Brackett chipping in with 37 as part of a 180-yard effort for the Bucs. Thompson completed 26-39 passes for 280 yards for McGill-Toolen with one touchdown in a losing effort.
The first half was all about Hoover’s defense as the Bucs shut down the high-powered Yellow Jackets for the first 24 minutes. Despite giving up 151 total yards, Hoover kept McGill-Toolen off the scoreboard thanks to a pair of fourth down stops and an interception of Thompson.
In the first quarter Hoover got on the board first on a Barrett Pickering 42-yard field goal following a 10-play 44-yard drive.
Following the interception of Thompson in McGill-Toolen territory the Bucs took just five plays to cover 36 yards with Sturdivant pushing the ball over from two yards for the touchdown with 6:35 left in the first half.
Sturdivant’s second touchdown of the night came just three minutes into the second half when he raced over from 37-yards out to make it a 17-0 Hoover lead. McGill-Toolen finally got on the scoreboard with 4:13 remaining on a 30-yard toss from Thompson to Jalen Tolbert but it was far too little and too late for the Yellow Jackets.