A few months
later, when Clear told his sons that they were all moving to Alabama, the twins
knew immediately where they wanted to go to school: Hoover.
Ross Wilson is
driving his mother's silver BMW through the sleepy back streets of Hoover, an
affluent community of 67,500. As the blond-haired, blue-eyed Wilson approaches
his house on this rainy summer evening, he ponders the fact that he is days
from becoming one of the most famous high school seniors in America. Beginning
on Aug. 23, MTV will feature Wilson in a new reality series called Two-a-Days.
MTV cameras followed Wilson's every move last season--both on and off the
field--as he led Hoover to its fourth straight state championship, and the
network has edited all that footage down to eight shows that will air each
Wednesday until Oct. 11.
"I'm one of
the only guys who didn't like all the cameras," says Wilson. "I really
just like being a normal kid."
the first time he saw Wilson throw a football. Wilson was in fifth grade,
running Hoover's no-huddle offense at one of the fields at Hoover East
Ballpark, where many of the youth leagues play. "Man, he was winging that
ball everywhere, showing no fear," says Propst.
practicing with the varsity players in informal workouts the summer before he
started seventh grade--alongside his brother, who was the team's starting QB by
the end of his sophomore season. As a junior last season Wilson completed 67.3%
of his passes for 2,950 yards and 31 touchdowns. He may be short, but he seldom
underthrows his receivers--he can heave a ball 70 yards without much
That arm strength
will be tested on Sept. 1 when Hoover travels to Tulsa to play Union High,
which has a 57-game home winning streak. The trip to the Sooner State for the
televised game on Fox Sports Net will cost Hoover, whose players and coaches
will fly on a chartered plane, $108,930. Hoover spends an average of $450,000 a
year on football, including travel expenses, meals, uniforms and pads. All of
it is comes from gate receipts, concessions and fund-raising. Although Nike
supplies the coaches with shoes and apparel, Propst is constantly pounding on
the doors of local businesses asking for donations. "We do spend a lot of
money," says Parker Wilson, who is president of the Buccaneer Touchdown
Club, founded in 1999, which has close to 300 members and raises roughly
$450,000 annually. "But we do it to create a championship atmosphere."
Hoover operates more like a big-time college program than a typical high school
team; Bucs players sometimes stay in hotels the night before home games, enjoy
lavishly catered pregame meals and receive a police escort to and from Hoover
Metropolitan Stadium, where the Buccaneers play most of their home games.
"Here at Hoover we do everything first-class," says Wilson.
With his baseball
cap pulled low on his forehead, the Crimson Tide's starting sophomore
quarterback squints into the hellish Alabama sun and watches his brother take
on Shreveport, La.--based Evangel Christian Academy, the defending Class 1A
Louisiana state champions, in the semifinals of the seven-on-seven tournament.
"It's like playing at a college when you're at Hoover," he says.
"You get to school before class in the morning, and you watch film with
coaches. You watch more film after school. And then you work your tail off in
practice. Hoover totally prepared me to play at Alabama."
Out on the field
it's another track meet for the Bucs. The younger Wilson is firing the ball
left and right, deep and short, connecting several times with his newest
receiver, Brandon Clear, who looks like a budding Randy Moss as he leaps over
defenders for acrobatic catches. Propst strolls along the sideline, intensely
focused, nodding his head in approval after each completion. The fans rise to
their feet when the final whistle blows; Hoover wins an atypically low-scoring
game 19--17 and advances to face Shiloh Christian of Springdale, Ark., in the
championship. (Lightning later forces the title game to be canceled--and denies
Hoover the chance to defend its title.)
After the game
Propst is sitting in his office. On a shelf behind him rest the five state
championship trophies he's won at Hoover. "After winning consecutive
titles, we sometimes have trouble finding motivation around here--but not this
year," he says. "This is the best team I've ever had at Hoover. We're
already talking about going 16--0. Nothing short of perfection will be