Spain Park Jaguars
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2007
AHSAA Class 6A, Region 6
2005 Record: 5-5 (4-2 Region)
The Spain Park Jaguars are seeing 2006 as a season of new beginnings. A disappointing 5-5 season last year left the Jags on the outside of the playoffs looking in. But as a new season arrives for Spain Park, it brings with it a new coaching staff and a new attitude. Head coach John Grass, who came over from Moody High School early this summer, brings with him a system that he hopes will inspire his players to give 100 percent every time they set foot on the field. A number of players that showed promise in starting roles last year return to the squad this season, including junior quarterback Cody Wells and senior wide receiver Justin Diliberto. Grass believes his team has what it takes to return to the Class 6A postseason this year, and he’s spent the better part of the summer preparing the Jaguars for a playoff run.
Junior quarterback Cody Wells made a strong showing last season after replacing senior standout and Auburn signee Neil Caudle, who suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the year. Wells completed 65 of 124 passes during the season for 970 yards and eight touchdowns. Junior B.J. Gilham and sophomore Hunter Walker will compete for the backup role.
The Jags will call on the fresh legs of juniors Eli Smith and James Willis this season in the backfield. Neither player clocked much time on the field last year, with Smith earning 28 touches for 61 yards and one touchdown.
A dangerously fast receiving corps could be the Jags’ offensive salvation this season. Senior standout receiver Justin Diliberto was second on the team in receiving last year with 34 catches for 550 yards and five touchdowns. He will be joined by juniors Brandon Harris and Cody Jackson and sophomore Ryan Priddy. Harris had two catches for 36 yards in 2005.
Three returning senior starters anchor Spain Park’s offensive line this season. Christopher Nola, Keith Chandler and Jim Trucks will prove to be a tough wall to crack when they’re joined by junior starters Michael Hogue and Jeff Benson.
Junior defensive end William Green leads a quick defensive line this season that also includes seniors Brad Tinney and Adam Williams and juniors Zach Payne and Alexander Baker.
Senior Chase Beard joins juniors Chase Prime, Sean Thompson and Victor Williams in the linebacking corps. With a combined total of nine tackles in 2005, the group is inexperienced but full of potential.
The Jags will potentially rotate through six players in the secondary. Senior Michael Layton returns as a starter after picking off four passes in 2005. He’s joined by senior Drew Scott, who finished last season with four blocked punts. Also defending the backfield this season will be senior Michael Layton and juniors Rod Hunter and Brad Cox.
Senior Ben Meadows is a favorite to handle the majority of kicking duties.
Sept. 8@Mtn. Brook
Sept. 15v. Hoover
Sept. 29@Bob Jones
Oct. 6v. Homewood(HC)
Oct. 13@Oak Mtn.
Oct. 20v. Carver
Oct. 27v. Minor
Nov. 3v. Hillcres