Mounties Fall To Mountain Brook In Region Game

by John Goolsby

The Mounties got an up-close look at one of the best teams in the state last Friday night. The Spartans of Mountain Brook (5-0) marched into Frank Nix Stadium and handed Shades Valley a 31-0 Region 5 loss. The Mounties fell to 1-3, 1-1 in region play on the season. All three of the Shades Valley losses have been to 6A top-10 teams.

The 6A #4 ranked Spartans rolled up 366 yards of total offense. 278 yards came from a punishing ground attack. “Mountain Brook played fast and violent…they played football the way it was meant to be played,” said Mountie Head Coach Rueben Nelson.

While Coach Chris Yeager’s Spartans played extremely well, they were aided by four Mountie turnovers. Furthermore, Valley’s special teams, which had been a strength through the season’s first three games, took a step backward. That breakdown allowed the Spartan offense to gain valuable field position for the majority of the first half. The short field resulted in 21 points for Mountain Brook early in the contest.

Although the Spartans were able to score 31 points, the Mountie defense played well for most of the game. “Week after week, our defense is making stops, and we are creating turnovers. Unfortunately, we didn’t do enough to win the game. Still, players like Tyree Hines, Kendorius Turner, and Malique Steele are taking our defense to another level of physicality and intelligence,” said Mountie Defensive Coordinator Justin Hannah.

Tyree Hines and Cameron Harris led the Mounties with nine total tackles apiece. Malique Steele had eight total tackles, and Kordelle Steele had seven total tackles, a sack, and two tackles for a loss of yards.

Kendorius Turner

The Mountie offense was shut out by a stingy Mountain Brook defense that had only given up 17 points coming into the game. Shades Valley was only able to muster 18 yards of total offense in the first half. The Mounties could not get into a rhythm due to turnovers and penalties. “We had our shots. We just couldn’t capitalize on them,” said Nelson. The Mounties finished with 132 yards of total offense.

Senior running back Jordan Pearson led the Mounties with 49 rushing yards. Quarterback J’Caius Moore completed six passes on nine attempts for 69 yards. Moore continues to develop and grow in each game. The learning curve for a sophomore playing against what Coach Nelson says are “some of the fastest teams in the state” has been steep for the first-year starter. Offensive Coordinator Kyle Dickerson has faith in Moore. “He’s handled everything we’ve given him. He’s working hard and wants to please,” Dickerson said. Christian Thomas was the Mounties leading receiver with three receptions for 59 yards. Dickerson believes that a key to getting the offense on track is getting the ball to Christian Thomas and wide receiver Dacorian Thomas more often.

Jordan Pearson

No one on the Shades Valley coaching staff is making excuses for the record. The reality of the situation is that the Mounties have faced some incredibly tough and talented teams thus far. “We have seen some of the best talent this state has to offer,” said Nelson. While those games resulted in losses, Nelson believes that the experience of playing those teams will ultimately help his young squad. “Our kids benefited from playing those opponents…it was a brutal gauntlet of games to play, but mentally I believe we have come out on the other side,” he said.

Nelson has seen his kids continue to battle in the face of adversity. This senior class has played under three different head coaches. “Our kids haven’t given up, and I’m proud of them,” he said. Coach Nelson knows that he’s ultimately judged by what the scoreboard says. However, he knows there’s much more to the game of football than the wins and losses. “Character counts. Character and work ethic pay off. The Mounties are growing in character. They are learning how to work hard,” he said. Despite the early losses, the Mounties still are in the hunt for another trip to the playoffs. Shades Valley has remaining region games against Briarwood, Homewood, Chelsea, and Woodlawn.

The road to success is sometimes long, bumpy, and winding. Nelson is ready for that journey. “I think we are going to have a great future here. We are going to get back to being the Mounties of the past,” he added.

Frank Nix Stadium

Shades Valley hosts the Gardendale Rockets at Frank Nix Stadium in a non-region game this Friday at 7 pm. The game can be seen on the NFHS Network app.

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