This year’s 7A match-up features two teams who have been here before. McGill-Toolen and Hoover are the only 7A champions in Alabama, and they meet up here for the ultimate showdown.
Two years ago, Hoover made it to Jordan-Hare Stadium and took down Prattville 35-21. That was the third championship in a row for the Bucs. Last year, however, Spain Park emerged as the leading team not only in the city of Hoover, but in the northern half of Alabama. McGill-Toolen was able to take them down in a defensive showcase 14-12.
Hoover is used to facing teams from the southern part of Alabama, having faced Daphne five times in the state championship game, along with a match-up against Vigor. Of the 17 times Hoover/Berry has played in a state championship game, they have won 10 of them, but against Mobile area teams, they are only 3-3.
McGill-Toolen is a newer face to the championship game, playing in their only one last season where they won. That doesn’t mean you need to count out the Yellow Jackets, who are currently ranked #5 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25. It’s the highest an Alabama team has been ranked in a while. If any team usually claims a spot that high from Alabama, it’s Hoover.
In the computer rankings from Ken Massey, McGill-Toolen ranks #1 in the state, but right behind them is Hoover.
When it comes to this game on Wednesday night, it will be all about how each team’s offense can move the ball. Both McGill-Toolen and Hoover have outstanding defenses.
Hoover’s defense is a great unit as a team. They don’t have a lot of star power on the team when it comes to individual big-name recruits. They just play really well as one solid unit. Hoover has 22 interceptions on the year, averaging almost two a game. The defense only gives up 10.5 points per game.
However, McGill-Toolen has a great offense, led by Auburn baseball commit Bubba Thompson at quarterback and Southern Cal WR commit Marlon Williams among other talented receivers. The Yellow Jacket offense averages just over 40 points per game. The only thing is – Hoover has only allowed double digits to two teams this year, Bob Jones and Gadsden City, and that was just 10 and 14 points respectively.
When Hoover has the ball, they will be going up against a pretty good defense as well, anchored by Carlton Martial at linebacker. McGill-Toolen is only giving up 12.3 points per game on defense, and Hoover’s offense isn’t very explosive, averaging 29.5 points per game. Garrett Farquhar has been a step up at quarterback this season, but even still, against good defenses, Hoover struggles to put points on the board.
This game has all the makings of being similar to last year’s contest with Spain Park. Two really good defenses going against each other. The difference is McGill-Toolen’s ability to pass the ball. They will air it out plenty in this game with the talent they have, but Hoover has picked off plenty of quarterbacks. This game will be about limiting turnovers and trying to get a good balanced approach against these great defenses.
Players to watch
QB Bubba Thompson (McGill-Toolen) – Although baseball might have been his thing coming into the season, he has shown that he can be a great football player too. He has far exceeded any expectations after having to fill the shoes of Paris Chambers. He has thrown for 2,894 yards this season with 37 touchdowns and just five interceptions. A great core of receivers doesn’t hurt either.
WR Marlon Williams (McGill-Toolen) – The Southern Cal commit has 46 catches for 962 yards and 13 touchdowns. You’ll also see him go into the wildcat every so often, as he has a few touchdowns there as well.
LB Carlton Martial (McGill-Toolen) – The leader of the defense is MArtial, who has over 100 tackles this season, including 9.5 sacks.
QB Garrett Farquhar (Hoover) – Sometimes, passing the ball hasn’t always worked well for Hoover, but Farquhar is doing a great job this season after last year was a major down year for the Bucs through the air. He has thrown for just over 2,000 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
K Barret Pickering (Hoover) – Typically you don’t mention a kicker as a player to watch, but he has been great so far this season, making every PAT (47-of-47) and 18 field goals. Although he has struggled a little bit lately, missing multiple field goals in the James Clemens game, he could be the X-factor for the Bucs if this does indeed turn into a defensive showdown.
We’ve come up with a formula to help determine the outcomes of games this season. If you missed our post on it, check it out here with the lines to all of the Super 7 games.
JoxPreps Predictor: McGill-Toolen -5
JoxPreps Staff Picks
Jon Lunceford’s Pick: McGill-Toolen
Aaron Daniel’s Pick: McGill-Toolen
Jacob Bunn’s Pick: McGill-Toolen
John SaBerre’s Pick: Hoover
J.D. Cowart’s Pick: McGill-Toolen