HOOVER, AL -
The key number for Hoover High School's football team is 30.
The Bucs have won a school-record 29 games in a row. But one more win, and the Bucs would earn back-to-back class 6A state championships and back-to-back 15-0 seasons for the first time ever.
"You can talk about the streak, you can talk about numbers, you can talk about back-to-back," Hoover head coach Josh Niblett said. "For us it's doing things better than have ever been done before."
"It hasn't been a distraction for us," Hoover running back Bradrick Shaw said. "That's been our goal since coming into the season."
Hoover's season almost came to an end in last week's semifinal against Vestavia Hills. The Bucs trailed by 18 points with about ten minutes to play. Like a true champion, they found a way to win.
"We start a little slow," Hoover linebacker Jason McKay said. "That's something we're going to work on this week. We want to come out faster and hopefully start fast and stay on them."
"We need a little bit of a wake up call," Niblett said. "Every now and then you need to have a little inconvenience in your life to keep you honest."
Standing in the way, Auburn High School (13-1); a team making it's first ever appearance in the state title game.
"It all boils down to, when you play in championship games, it doesn't matter what the conditions are, doesn't matter what day you're playing on, what's changed, what venue," Niblett said. "It's going to be who can run the football and who can stop the run and play well on special teams."
The competition against Hoover has clearly gotten better. Through the first 12 games, Hoover won by an average of 31 points.
The last two games, the Bucs only won by a combined four points.