Hoover vs. Vestavia is THE game in the state of Alabama. All eyes were on these two teams as both are ranked in the top ten of the 6A class. The Hoover Bucs came into the game with the advantage of a six year winning streak, but the Vestavia Rebels wanted to see that streak come to an end. Rivalry Series festivities began with the Hoover High School pep rally. iHigh staff attended the pep rally, showcasing the Championship Trophy, reminding the student body of the Marine Corps Sponsorship, and encouraging them to participate in the Chin-Up Challenge. Despite the chilly October weather, stands were packed as the Bucs and Rebels took the field for their pre-game warm ups. Soon after, SSgt. Mumper and Sgt. McNeal escorted two seniors to the 50 yard line for the Scholar Athlete presentation. Sgt. McNeal presented Ryan Wilson with his plaque congratulating him for his efforts and success on and off the field. SSgt. Mumper then presented John Propst, along with his parents, with his plaque. After the presentation, the two athletes shook hands and the game got underway.
Hoover’s scholarship winner is senior linebacker and four-year starter John Propst, son of Phillip and Marla Propst. With over 430 tackles in the last three years, John has won numerous awards, is ranked #36 out of 150 in ESPNU national recruiting rankings, and has been nominated for the 2009 ESPN/Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. He has a 3.88 GPA.
Vestavia Hills’ scholarship winner is senior Ryan Wilson, son of Jeff and Betty Wilson. Ryan is a three-year letterman and has a 4.42 grade-point average. He is also on the track and field team and is a member of the Latin Honor Society, Latin Club, and National Honor Society. He is a member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church and plans to study journalism at Auburn.
Former Berry, Auburn, and New York Giants Quarterback Stan White is the 2009 Great American Rivalry Series Hall of Fame Recipient for Hoover High School. As a Berry sophomore, White became the starting quarterback. After accepting a football scholarship at Auburn University, he started 45 games for the Tigers culminating in an 11-0 record in 1993. With all of his high school and college accolades, he recalls the 1988 game against Minor High School as one of his most memorable football games against a team that had manhandled the Bucs earlier in the year. After playing high school, college, and pro football, he is now a State Farm Insurance Agent. Stan attributes legendary W.A. Berry High School coach Bob Finley as being one of the greatest influences on his football career and his life, teaching him the importance of genuine work ethic, attention to detail, and sincerity toward his fellow man.
Jim Brown played in the series in 1977 and 1978. He helped lead Vestavia Hills to the state runner up title in 1978 and was named MVP of the State Championship Game. Jim played four years at the University of Southern Mississippi where he played in the Tangerine and Independence Bowls. He then played with the Birmingham Stallions in the USFL league in 1984 and 1985. Jim and his wife Bonnie have three daughters, Shirey, Shaley, and Jaylann. They now reside in New Smyrna Beach FL where he is Senior District Sales Manager for Godrey Marine.