HOOVER, Alabama -- The #2 Hoover Bucs used a stingy defense and a strong run game as they go and get the win over Prattville 28-6 Friday night at the Hoover Met. Prattville led 6-0 on a punt return to get the early lead, but it was all Hoover after scoring 28 straight points and the defense getting a shutout the rest of the way.
Hoover (6-0) used a balance attack with 190 rushing yards and 184 passing yards for the win. "To God be the glory, I just saw some fight in our guys as our we answered the bell," said Bucs Head coach Josh Niblett. "We have to find out who we are. We want to get more physical in the run game, physical on defense, and came up with turnovers in the second half and we got stops on defense all night long. Team continues to play fast and physical while getting off the field on third down. We took the game over in the second half and forced our will on them. I'm proud how our guys bounced back after the punt return. This was a total team effort. Being physical on running the football was key for us."
Prattville (4-2) opened the scoring in the game when Cam Shanks turned in a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown but the extra point was blocked and Prattville led 6-0 with 10:25 left in the first quarter. With 9:08 left in the second quarter, Hoover took the lead when Josh Lundy found Malik Thomas in the corner of the end zone. With the score, Hoover led 7-6. A Brain Porter 26-yard run setup the Bucs touchdown. Porter led the Bucs with 101 yards on 20 carries. "We had to pick it up without RJ out on the field," said Bucs WR Thomas. "We believe in ourselves and we think we can force our way in a game. We have a lot of confidence on offense. As Coach Niblett says, we can run for 300 or pass for 300, it doesn't matter to us."
On a third down play late in the second quarter, linebacker Josh Smith sacked the Prattville quarterback and force a punt that Hoover took over right before halftime. The Bucs went in their two minute drill and drove 71-yards for a score. A big 26-yard reception by Isaac Lovoy set the Bucs up at the Lions 2-yard line with only 21 seconds left in the half. On the next play, Jaylen Taylor bulled his way into the end zone and Hoover led 14-6 going in the locker room. "The drive before the half was huge guys stepping up and making plays," added Niblett. "Malik made a big play, Isaac Lovoy made a big catch and we pushed it in the end zone. That was a big score. We had good tempo on that drive."
Late in the third quarter, Porter gets another big run to setup the Bucs offense to start the fourth quarter. A few plays later, Taylor scored on a 7-yard touchdown run and showed some power busting through the Lions defensive line. Taylor gets his second TD of the night and Hoover led 21-6 with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter. On the Lions next possession, Prattville completed a pass but fumbled and Josh Smith pounced on the ball for the Bucs at the Prattville 37-yard line. A few plays later, Lundy found Thomas on a 11-yard touchdown pass play for the Bucs and Hoover led 28-6 with 6:28 left in the game.
The defense took over for much of the game. The one long punt return and a short pass play that went 60-yards was about it for the Prattville offense. The Bucs defense held Prattville to 157 total yards. "We do very good with preparation during the week," said Bucs linebacker Marcus Williams. "We just take that game plan and execute it on Friday night. We played hard and physical and the game just took care of itself. We want to play fast from sideline to sideline and not let a team out run us. We had things to work on after the Central game, but we have made those adjustments and playing a lot better right now in the season."
Lundy completed 14-of-27 passing for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas had six receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Lovoy had three receptions for 49 yards. Smith had 5.5 tackles and a sack. DJ Estes had 3.5 tackles along with Willaims.
Both teams go back in region play next week as Hoover travels to play Hewitt-Trussville while Prattville will travel to play Enterprise.