Such was the case Saturday night in Oxford's 32-27 loss to Hoover in the Champions Challenge Football Classic.
Hoover's Leon Carlton recovered a too-high snap in the end zone for a score with 6:58 to go in the third. Bucs linebacker John Propst recovered another on Oxford's next possession on the Yellow Jackets' 1-yard line to set up another touchdown.
The two blooper-fueled scores turned a 19-14 Hoover lead into a 32-14 Hoover lead with 5:40 to go in the third.
"That's usually a given," Oxford coach John Grass said of the costly miscues. "It gave them two touchdowns. You just can't make those kind of mistakes."
Prior to those game-turning mistakes, it seemed as thought all Oxford needed to do to cure all of its ailments was insert quarterback Jarid Moore into the lineup.
The 6-foot senior signal caller started the game on the bench in lieu of talented sophomore Jackson Stephens. Then Moore came on and woke up an Oxford team that looked content to bow down.
Moore started out by igniting Oxford's offensive attack, leading an eight-play, 93-yard drive that put the Yellow Jackets, who trailed 13-0 early on, on the board for the first time — with 2:57 remaining in the second quarter.
He finished with 108 yards on 8-of-11 passing against the 2008 Class 6A runners-up.
"I was calm. I just wanted to go in the game, make plays, win and compete," Moore said. "The whole first quarter, I was seeing what coverages they were running, and, by the time I went into the game, I was ready to make plays."
Moore came into the game five minutes and 54 seconds before the half and didn't miss a mark, going 3-for-3 for 63 yards, including a 34-yard completion to wide receiver to Antonio Webb, which put Oxford in the red zone for the first time.
That set up Bobby McCain's 1-yard plunge that brought Oxford to within 13-7.
Moore's play must've also breathed life into the Yellow Jackets' defense, because it got nastier than a tablespoon of caster oil after that.
Oxford forced Hoover into a fourth-and-13 on the very next possession, and Dominique Williams rushed off the right edge to a block a punt. McCain recovered it and returned it 20 yards for his second touchdown of the game with 1:29 left in the second quarter, giving Oxford the 14-13 lead it held at halftime.
"I challenged the guys at halftime," said second-year Hoover coach Josh Niblett, who coached at Oxford prior to his Hoover move. "I told the defense that they had to go out and make some big plays and that we've got to develop some killer instinct out here.
"But my hat goes off to Oxford. They did a great job."
Hoover didn't squander its opportunity to make a lasting first impression.
After the Bucs' very first play from scrimmage — a 62-yard touchdown pass on a fly route up the left sideline from Ryan Carter to receiver Maudrecus Humphrey — two things were clear.
One, Hoover is as legitimate a contender as you'll find and well deserving of the No. 2 ranking it garnered in the Alabama Sports Writers Association's preseason poll.
Two, Oxford might not have to explain a defeat at the hands of one of the state perennial powers in the Champions Challenge. However, the Yellow Jackets admittedly have some improving to do following the loss heading into their season opener Friday at home against Benjamin Russell.
"We've got to go in and break the film down, but I felt like our defense held their own after the first quarter," Grass said. "Of course, we've got do better as far as the execution part is concerned, but this is the most work I've ever gotten in any preseason game I've been a part of."
Oxford's Justin Morgan scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Stephens with 4:59 to go, and John Prince added an 18-yard touchdown reception with 14 second remaining.
Stephens finished 13-for-23 for 125 yards and two scores. Webb finished with 95 all-purpose yards and an interception inside Oxford's 10-yard line to stave off a Hoover scoring threat in the second quarter.
Carter went 17-for-27 for 214 yards and a touchdown.