By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
A capacity crowd was on hand last Friday (Nov. 18) in Gadsden to witness the latest episode of the “We want Hoover” trilogy. This was the same story with an almost identical outcome.
The Hoover Bucs overcame a sluggish start and exploded in he second half to defeat the Gadsden City Titans, 42-14, in the Class 7A state football semifinals.
“We Want Bama” chants started from the Hoover student section midway through the fourth quarter, when the outcome of the game had been decided.
Hoover (11-2) advanced to the Class 7A championship game in Auburn on Nov. 30 against McGill-Toolen. The Bucs are looking for their 10th state title since 2000.
The Titans finished their season at 7-6. Gadsden City started the season 0-4 against teams that finished the regular season with a combined 35-5 record before winning seven of its next eight games. Hoover beat the Titans for the third time in the state playoff semifinals, winning by 35 the other two times, 35-0 in 2009 and 42-7 in 2014.
“We came out to start the second half very flat,” said Gadsden City head coach Matt Scott. “I don’t know why but we were very flat. We had a lot of missed opportunities, and we just made too many key mistakes to start the second half. You can’t make mistakes like that on offense and in the kicking game against a defense like that.”
Gadsden City took a 7-0 lead with 7:14 to go in the first quarter when quarterback Ryan Sparks scored on a 1-yard run. Jonathan Kilgo gave Gadsden City its only lead at 7-0. Hoover quarterback Garrett Farquhar tied the game with 42 seconds to go in the opening period with his 33-yard touchdown toss to Cortez Hall.
Hoover drove down to the Gadsden City 20-yard line with time running out in the first half, but the Titans blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt as time ran out.
Deadlocked at 7-7, Gadsden City was punting from the shadow of its own goal line when Kilgo couldn’t handle the snap and Evans fell on the ball for the go-ahead score. The Bucs dominated from there, holding the Titans to one first down and 4 total yards in the second half. Hoover ran the ball 33 times for 183 yards in the second half and 50 times for 253 yards in the game. Hoover attempted only two passes in the second half, with Farquhar throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens to give Hoover a 35-7 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hoover started second half possessions as the Gadsden City 41, the Titans 45, the Gadsden City 21 and Titans 49, converting three of the four into touchdowns and was on the Titans 16 on the other when the game ended. The Bucs finished with 392 total yards to only 109 for the Titans.
Gadsden City’s DeWayne Parker ran a kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown in the game’s finals minutes.
This article was supplemented by al.com