The Hoover Bucs look to get back to the 7A Championship something that they haven't done in the past two seasons. The Bucs defeated McGill-Toolen back in 2017 for their last championship but have been knocked out by Thompson in the playoffs the last two years.
The Bucs (10-3) have a lot of experience on offense and defense and look for big things in 2020 and are excited being back on the field. "Were trying to build up through the summer with all the protocol and guidelines and trying to get back to football since fall camp started," said Bucs Head coach Josh Niblett. "I've been excited watching our kids, the energy they are bringing to practice along with great tempo. I'm excited where we are at right now.
The Bucs offense have a lot of weapons at their disposal. Due to QB injuries it forced playing time for Josh Lundy and Evan Reader last season. Lundy looks to lead the Bucs offense after being a backup the last few years. Lundy has game experience along with Reader as they both compete for the job in the fall. Reader had multiple starts at quarterback last season.
Behind the QB's, you have one strong running back in Dylan Betts-Pauley. The Vanderbilt verbal commitment can run from tackle to tackle with the best of them. The senior running back has great size and speed. Add in Brian Porter and Ahamari Williams and the Bucs have solid depth. Will Whisenhunt will play fullback in short yardage situations.
At wide receiver you have some depth and a lot of speed. Malik Thomas with his size and speed will be a top target for the Bucs. Thomas will decide from these offers Alcorn State, Air Force, Kennesaw State, Navy, North Alabama and Tennessee State.
RJ Hamilton has a lot of speed and will be another huge asset for the Bucs. The two sport star played a lot of baseball in the summer but is locking in on football here in fall camp. Joseph Buffett and Jacob Johnson add to the Bucs receiving core. Dawson Rye and Jabari Gaines will be playing the tight end position.
The offensive line has some experience and depth. Nick Paradise, Jordan Washington, Christian Ledbetter, Adam Lepkowski, Trenton Pryer and Brandon Baker will compete for the five line spots. Paradise has an offer from Huntington College. Lepkowski has an invite to the Hawaii Tiki Bowl.
The 2020 Hoover defense is going to have a lot of speed and experience on the field. The Bucs lost three very good defensive backs and a couple good lineman but feel like they have replacements.
Linebacker Josh Smith is very good on the Bucs defense. Smith has speed to burn and can go sideline to sideline. Smith has offers from UNA and UT-Martin. Linebacker Marcus Williams is another burner at linebacker. Williams has offers from Coastal Carolina, Rice, Dartmouth, UT-Martin, TSU, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Middle Tennessee, Alabama State, Georgia Southern, Navy, UTC, Army, Air Force, Arkansas St, Jacksonville St, Austin Peay, and Georgia St.
Jason Riles and Terrell Jones round out the linebackers. Riles has an offer from Bethal University. Jones has an invite to the Hawaii Tiki Bowl.
The secondary has depth. Matthew Palmer, Brice Cole, Jay Avery, Paul Thompson, and Jamal Denson will play in the mix. Palmer will be one of the defensive leaders. Bucs secondary coach Durrell Fuqua says he is intelligent and plays with an edge.
The defensive lineman are Amari Sanders, Christian Fields, Marcus Clark and Cory Warren. Warren is a high energy guy and Clark brings experience.
Messiah Tolen ran a 4.3 40-yard dash during the Bucs virtual combine during the summer. Air Force jumped on board to offer Tolen and all that speed. Will Tolen play running back, receiver or defensive back? We will see soon but with that speed we will see him on the field.
The kicking game is in good hands with Constantine Hontzas. The senior kicked a game winning field goal over Central-Phenix City last season.
Hoover will host Dothan on August 21 at the Hoover Met.