High School Football Talent On Display

Two exciting prospects highlighted this Birmingham shoot-out. A photo gallery plus more.

Hoover, Ala.--One of the epic battles of the 2001 Alabama high school football season was waged last Friday night as the Mountain Brook Spartans took on the Hoover Bucaneers for the lead in Region 6 of Class 6A competition.

Although the Spartans put up a valiant effort, in the end there was just too much on the Hoover sidelines as they came away with a 28-21 victory.

Grant Brigham comes off the ball in Friday night's game.

"I thought we played real hard and we didn't make any mistakes turnover-wise," Mountain Brook star wide receiver Grant Brigham notes about the game. "We just didn't capitalize when we had a chance. We were given opportunities to take it in and score, we just didn't do it."

On the field were two of the top wide receivers in the state in Brigham and junior Chad Jackson from Hoover. Both made big plays for their team but the Spartans couldn't take advantage of some early opportunities that wound up costing them the game.

Early on Brigham got things rolling for the Spartans as he threw a reverse pass to quarterback Graeme McFarland for a score to give his team the early 7-0 lead.

Brigham on the sideline after his touchdown toss.

Trailing 7-0 Jackson wasted little time getting his team back in the game with several big catches and runs out of the Bucs' spread offense. The 6-1, 190-pound Jackson will be one of the top prospects in the state next year and has already heard from colleges including Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee.

Jackson prepares to throw a double pass but instead tucks the ball and runs for a big gain on the Bucs first drive.

The defining moment of the first half came in a valiant goal line stand by the Spartan defense. Having three cracks from the one-yard line, the Bucs couldn't push it across, preserving Mountain Brook's lead.

Brigham in a rare defensive moment as he takes a break after defending Jackson on the goal line man-to-man.

Although the Bucs would come back in the second half and win the game, the Spartans proved why they were considered one of the teams to beat in the Birmingham Metro area. This battle will likely be waged again down the road in the playoffs as a rematch could occur in the semi-finals with a trip to Legion Field on the line.

Brigham works to get open in the third quarter.

A player who has become more coveted as the recruiting season has played out, Brigham says that his choice of schools has changed in the past few weeks due to some coaching rumors at one of his favorites. "I think a couple of weeks ago that Vanderbilt was my favorite but their coaching situation kind of worries me right now. I don't know what they are going to do. I've definitely got to think about that. Them and Furman and Auburn and Alabama and Virginia are really the five I'm considering heavily. I think that all five right now are pretty equal."

Known as a playmaker for his exploits both as a receiver and runner for Coach Joey Jones' Spartan team, you would think that the offense a team runs would have a big effect on his choice of schools. Surprisingly, he says that won't really come into play with him because he believes other factors are more important.

"It's more of the feel," he says of what will be his ultimate factor in his decision of a school. "It's not about what kind of offense they're running or how much they plan on giving you the ball, I just want to play for a team where I like my coaches and my teammates and I feel at home there. I need to like the school and the atmosphere away from football. It's more to do with that than it is whether or not they throw the ball a lot."

Without an official visit set up to this point, the 6-1, 175 Brigham says that the five schools he mentioned will likely be his official visit destinations this winter. While he doesn't plan on committing anytime soon, he does say that once he finds the school that's right for him he won't waste any time letting that be known. For many schools around the South, that could be a very sad day indeed.


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