Hanging on: Jags over Eagles complicates playoff picture

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2006

From heartbroken to heartbreakers best describes the turn around experienced by the Spain Park Jaguars in their 31-27 victory over Oak Mountain last Friday night.

One week earlier, the Jaguars could not hold off the Homewood Patriots, who came from behind to defeat them in overtime 40-37.

On Friday the 13th, however, it was the Jaguars who came from behind, down 24-7 at the half, to defeat the Oak Mountain Eagles.

An Oak Mountain fumble recovered by the Jaguars early in the second half seemed to shift the momentum of the game.

But that was no excuse to Oak Mountain head football coach Jerry Hood. He said the turnover didn&8217;t help. But, he said, &8220;We&8217;re up 24-7 … you&8217;ve got to stop them at some point, and we didn&8217;t do a good job of that … Hats off to them, they did a great job.&8221;

Spain Park fumbled twice but recovered both. Oak Mountain fumbled twice and lost one.

The win over cross county rival and 6A Region 6 foe Oak Mountain lofted the Jaguars to 4-3, 2-3, keeping playoff hopes alive, while dropping Oak Mountain to 3-4, 2-3.

Spain Park head football coach John Grass said he was proud of his kids for coming back. He added it was a great region win, and with their &8220;back against the wall,&8221; his guys &8220;came out and fought.&8221;

Grass added, &8220;I hope we get were we can sustain some leads and get up in games.&8221;

The Jaguars did strike first, marching 69 yards for the first touchdown of the night. Eli Smith took a pitch from quarterback Cody Wells and sprinted 26 yards for the score. Ben Meadows added the point after.

The Eagles responded with a 79-yard touchdown drive of their own, capped by a Nick Anderson 1-yard plunge. With the Ben Phillips point after, the game was knotted at 7-7 in the first quarter.

The Eagles quickly added 17 points to take what appeared to be a comfortable 24-7 lead at the half.

Zack Fowler scored on a 1-yard run; quarterback Richie Fordham scored on a 9-yard run; and Phillips, who added the points after, also made a 32-yard field goal.

But an Oak Mountain fumble recovered by Spain Park led to a 40-yard Meadows field goal, cutting the lead to 24-10 early in the third quarter.

The Jaguars creeped up again on a 1-yard Cody Jackson run and Meadows point after to make it a 24-17 ball game.

The Jaguars tied the score in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass from Wells to Jackson and a Meadows kick.

Then, a decision by the Eagles to kick a 21-yard field goal and take a 27-24 lead undid Oak Mountain.

Spain Park marched 79 yards, eating clock. On a fourth down with 1 yard to go, Jackson scored. The point after by Meadows put the Jaguars up 31-27 to stay.

Spain Park rushed for 190 yards and passed for 142 yards for 332 yards total offense. Oak Mountain rushed for 179 and passed for 122 yards for 301 yards total offense.

Oak Mountain&8217;s Fordham completed 17 of 21 passes for 128 yards, while Spain Park&8217;s Wells completed 13 of 24 passes for 142 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

Smith led Spain Park in rushing with 114 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Fordham led Oak Mountain with 60 yards rushing and one touchdown on 16 carries.

Spain Park was penalized 11 times for a total of 92 yards, while the home team was penalized only three times for 25 yards.