The Mountain Brook Spartans play the Rebels of Vestavia Hills tonight at 7 in a huge Class 7A, Region 3 battle. The Spartans, ranked ninth in the state, are 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Region 3, in second place behind Hoover who are 4-0.
Mountain Brook Coach Chris Yeager, now in his 11th year as head coach after serving 7 years as Joey Jones' offensive coordinator, said when the Spartans defeated the Rebels in 1996, his first year at Mountain Brook, it was the first time Mountain Brook had beaten Vestavia since '83-85', 11 years. Lately, the Spartans have held their own against the Rebels. Two years ago, the Spartans won at Vestavia and last year the Rebels came into Mountain Brook and won.
Yeager calls the Rebels, "a mirror image of our team.
"Their guys and our guys grew up playing basketball and baseball together and there are a lot of friends on each team. They do what we do. We have to win the turnover battle. It seems like in this game, the team that wins the turnover battle usually wins. We'll have to keep them from making big plays, and Hamp will need to play well, which he will."
Junior quarterback Hamp Sisson has accounted for 200 all purpose yards the last two weeks against Spain Park two weeks ago in a huge road victory over the Jags, and last week in a victory Tuscaloosa County at home. Sisson has completed 67% of his passes this season, 59-of-88, for 625 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Yeager says Hamp's wheels have been huge as he's thrown for three touchdowns on the run. He's been superb.
The offensive line, led by senior Price Delk and the rest of the linemen, have done a terrific job. Junior Harold Joiner is a bit banged up but has been a major part of the offense this season rushing for 350 yards and four TDs. Junior A.J. Gates is emerging as a big time dual threat along with Joiner, and senior Sam Everette is another solid option.
And the defense has been a major reason for the Spartans success thus far this season. Yeager calls senior linebacker Will Wetzler, "the best linebacker in the region." Wetzler has recorded 66 tackles this season, and posted 22 two weeks ago at Spain Park. That's right, 22. Wow. Senior safety Tanner Dean has been a major part of the defense as well that features 9 senior starters. The Spartans have six interceptions on the season led by corner Reid Hogue, who has picked off three passes.
It's been a tremendous start for the team, and tonight is another test for this veteran, clear eyes, full hearts team. It's a dedicated group. The Rebels are 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the region, not a typical record for Vestavia Hills, but they're always dangerous.
Yeager said if the team can commit to getting better every day, "We can go deep in the playoffs. This can be a really special season "
Next up, tonight 7 PM Vestavia Hills.