HOOVER, Alabama -- Quarterback Evan Smith rushed for four touchdowns and threw for another as the Oak Mountain Eagles defeated the Spain Park Jaguars 35-7 in Jaguar Stadium on Thursday night. The Oak Mountain defense held Spain Park in check for most of the game to get the Class 7A Region 3 win over the Eagles.
Smith, a Northwestern University commitment, rushed for 189 yards on 12 carries and four touchdowns completing 9-of-12 passing for 80 yards and a touchdown. "He is the best athlete in Alabama," said Eagles head coach Justin Crane. "Evan did a great job tonight. Offensively, I thought we got better being able to get more people involved. Evan has done a great job of taking the reigns of the offense, but he has a lot of weapons that made great plays. We battled and really wanted to start out fast and I think we did that."
Oak Mountain (5-1, 3-1) scored first in the game with 6:44 left in the first quarter, Smith scored on a 10-yard touchdown run around the right side of the offense. With the score, Oak Mountain led 7-0 early in the game. On the Spain Park next possession, safety Corbitt Grundhoefer picked off a Spain Park pass deep in Eagle territory. A few plays later, Oak Mountain driving and with 1:02 left in the first quarter, Smith scored on a 59-yard touchdown run. Smith dropped back to pass but found and opening a raced into the end zone. With the score, Oak Mountain led 14-0. "We fought hard and had two great weeks of preparation," said Eagles QB Smith. "We have been working on the passing game and it has been a point of emphasis all year. We are getting better everyday and have worked hard on this area of the offense. I put in a lot of hard work in the summer to get better and I give credit to my teammates for a great game they played tonight."
Late in the second quarter, Grundhoefer picked off another Spain Park pass to give the Eagles good field position. A few plays later, Smith hit Ethan Hammett on a 25-yard gain and the Eagles had first down at the Jaguars 4-yard line with only :10 seconds left in the half. On the next play, Smith rolled to his right and found C.J. Branson wide open for a 4-yard touchdown pass play for the Eagles. With only :05 seconds left in the half, Oak Mountain took a 21-0 lead into halftime.
Spain Park (1-5, 0-4) drove right out of halftime to give the Jaguars some hope in the game. A big run by Zamir Farris setup a Jaguars score. With 9:55 left in the third quarter, Evan Smallwood passed over the middle to John Michael Lee and he broke a tackle and scored on a 19-yard pass play. With the score, the Jags cut the Eagles lead to 21-7. That score didn't hold up for long as on the Eagles next drive, they scored again. With 5:50 left in the third quarter, Smith ran into the end zone on a 19-yard touchdown run around the right end. With the score, the Eagles led 28-7.
For the third time of the game, Grundhoefer picked off a pass and returned it deep into Jaguars territory. "We prepared for the triple option all week," said Eagles DB Grundhoefer. "It is my job to be in the right place to make the plays for my team. I can see everything from the back end of the defense. When the ball goes up in the air, it slows down and I jump for it and make the play. This is big for our defense."
With 3:55 left in the third quarter, Smith scored on a 39-yard touchdown run to seal the win for the Eagles.
Up next, Oak Mountain hosts Tuscaloosa County while Spain Park will host Hoover.