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Spartans start strong, knock off Hillcrest

Mountain Brook’s Gene Bromberg scores a touchdown despite the efforts of Hillcrest’s Terrance Dunlap during Friday night’s Class 6A playoff game at Mountain Brook High School. (Photo by Christine Prichard,


MOUNTAIN BROOK | Gene Bromberg’s hard-nosed running and Adam Harvey’s stellar defensive night led Mountain Brook over Hillcrest, 23-14 Friday night, and into the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

“We came out of the blocks very strong tonight,” Mountain Brook coach Chris Yeager said. “Our team did a good job with the up-tempo pace. Adam Harvey had the game of his life, and Bromberg ran hard for us tonight.”

Mountain Brook (10-1) scored the first nine points of the game, on a 35-yard field goal by Tre Smith in the first quarter and a Jacob Carroll-to-Hunter Branch 4-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, with the PAT failing.

Carroll ended the night with 85 yards through the air, completing 10 of 18 passes.

Hillcrest made it a ballgame when Keith Holcombe rambled 36 yards on a fake punt, taking it to the Mountain Brook 9-yard line. That set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Darnell Webb with 4:04 left in the half, cutting the deficit to 9-7 at the break.

With 11:35 to go in the third quarter, Mountain Brook’s Drew Herndon made a game-changing play of his own, sacking Riley Nix and forcing a fumble that Harvey scooped up and scored from 18 yards out.

Harvey had a huge night for the Spartans, accumulating 10 tackles, four sacks, three tackles for loss and that fumble return for the touchdown. Jordan Donald had nine tackles and three tackles for loss for the Spartans’ defense.

“We played a good football team in Mountain Brook,” Hillcrest (6-5) coach Scott Martin said. “They did not make any mistakes, and they did not turn the ball over. We never could get on the right side of the field. They do a great job on the defensive side of the ball.”

However, Hillcrest was not done, answering with a Nix-to-Darnell Webb 37-yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit back to two points with 9:08 left in the third quarter. Nix completed 27 of 34 passes for 224 yards. Webb caught eight of those passes for 88 yards.

It was not until just over four minutes remaining in the game, when Bromberg extended the Spartans lead by scoring on a 7-yard touchdown run, that the outcome was sealed.

Bromberg rushed 33 times for 115 yards and the touchdown.

Hillcrest outgained Mountain Brook 293 yards to 200 but was not able to overcome the costly turnover.