HOOVER – Tuscaloosa County was unable to keep up with Hoover for four quarters Friday night, falling 45-3 against the three-time defending state champions.

The Wildcats cut the lead to as close as four at the midway point in the second quarter before the Buccaneers took full control, scoring 38 unanswered points across six possessions to end the game. The Bucs led 17-3 at the half and 38-3 after three quarters.

As a team, Tuscaloosa County managed just three first downs and 71 yards of offense, compared to 20 first downs and 481 yards from Hoover. Yet for the better part of the first half, the game was much closer than the final score indicated.

After the first quarter, Hoover led 7-0 but had no first downs and only 37 yards of offense; conversely, County High had one first down and 26 yards.

Wildcats kicker Frank Garcia helped capitalize off the Bucs’ slow start, drilling a season-long 42-yard field goal with 6:12 left in the half. The senior has now made four field goals across his last two games.

Senior defensive back Cameron Rice began County High’s lone scoring drive, when he intercepted and returned a tipped pass 25 yards to the 50-yard line. On Hoover's previous possession, senior defensive lineman Collin Sherrill recovered a fumble forced by junior defensive back Caleb Bonner to stop a potential Hoover scoring threat.

Last week, the Bucs suffered a stunning 17-0 loss at home to Spain Park, their first ever to their crosstown school in 14 attempts, as well as their first defeat against in-state competition in 44 games and first time shutout since Sept. 27, 1991.

County High has not beaten Hoover since a 39-28 victory in Northport in 2005. Hoover now leads 11-4 all time.

Hoover quarterbacks Chris Vacarella and Garrett Farquhar each had two touchdown passes in the win. Farquhar, the junior backup, replaced Vacarella at the 4:05 mark in the third quarter with Hoover up 31-3.

For Tuscaloosa County, senior linebacker Paul Hammonds led all tacklers with 10.5 tackles. Bonner had 6.5 tackles, while VaShea Taylor and Jacquez Jones each had six apiece.

Hoover won the inaugural Class 7A title last season, as well as 6A championships in 2013 and 2014.

In the video above, County High play-by-play announcer Mick Gillispie and color commentator Greer Williams provide their postgame thoughts.

The Wildcats (0-7, 0-5 Class 7A, Region 3) take on region opponent Thompson (3-4, 1-4) in Alabaster next Friday night.

You can follow the live call of the game on Tide 99.1 FM, http://tide991.com/listen-live or on your mobile device using the radioPup app. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m.

Scoring Summary:

Tuscaloosa County 0 – 3 – 0 – 0

Hoover 7 – 10 – 21 – 7

H – Jimmie Johnson 7 pass from Chris Vacarella (Barret Pickering kick) 9:03 1st

TC – Frank Garcia 42 field goal 6:12 2nd

H – Kam Ford 35 pass from Vacarella (Pickering kick) 4:05 2nd

H – Pickering 37 field goal 0:37 2nd

H – C.J. Sturdivant 8 run (Pickering kick) 10:01 3rd

H – RJ Randle 16 run (Pickering kick) 8:06 3rd

H – Quincy Cox 10 pass from Garrett Farquhar (Pickering kick) 2:03 3rd

H – Shedrick Jackson 27 pass from Farquhar (Pickering kick) 4:17 4th

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