Oak Mountain capitalizes on Northridge mistakes to earn 23-14 season-opening win

Trey Vassell rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns as Class 7A Oak Mountain held on for a 23-14 victory over visiting 6A Northridge at Heardmont Park on Friday to open the 2022 season.

Vassell scored on 1 and 4 yard runs, both on short yards after big special teams played for the Eagles. Cole Kelly blocked a punt to set up the first score and a high snap led to a fumble and another short field for the Eagles.

Davion Foster added a 27-yard touchdown for the Eagles and they got a safety on a punt out of the end zone in the fourth quarter.

But Northridge came back strong after falling 21-0. Toryion Spears scored on a 10-yard run late in the first half and TJ Banks screened a 77-yard pass for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Oak Mountain defense held firm in the fourth.

“I feel like our defense came through in the end,” Vassell said. “When (UAB committed defensive end) Emmanuel (Waller) went down (with an injury in the first half), we had some adversity, but the rookie (nose tackle Joey Lewis) went down. succeeded in the end.”

Game of the game: Banks, a junior with multiple Power 5 school deals, took a short screen off a third from quarterback Rowdy Christensen and did the rest, sprinting down the left sideline and scoring 77 yards out. “There’s a reason this kid has an offer from Alabama,” OMHS coach Tyler Crane said.

Stat sheet: Banks had three catches for 101 yards for Northridge. Christensen threw for 193 yards, completing 10 of 24 passes with one interception. Will O’Dell was 3 of 8 for 64 yards as second takes over four-year-old Oak Mountain starting quarterback Evan Smith. Northridge beat Oak Mountain 263-204, but the Jaguars gave up an interception and committed three special teams errors.

In numbers : 3 – Meetings between the two schools, and it was Oak Mountain’s first win in the series. The teams hadn’t played since 2011. 3 — Tackles for loss on consecutive plays by Northridge linebacker Alex Wallace during a third quarter.

They said it: “Trey Vassell is a different baseball player than he was when I came here. He was a downhill guy and now he has a small step towards him. I was really proud of him. – Tyler Crane, Oak Mountain Coach

“I’m just trying to work on my agility more. Being with Coach (Cris) Bell (before 2021) I was more downhill and we were using the triple option. Now I try to juke more and do more agility stuff. – Vasell

“I was very proud of the resilience of our team. We had the opportunity to fold and quit. Bad things have happened. We fought to get back into the game and give ourselves an opportunity. Credit goes to our players for continuing to compete when it got tough. – Northridge coach Ryan Lolley

Next: Oak Mountain welcomes Pelham. Northridge is out next week and hosts Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa to open regional play on September 2.

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