Title games twice as nice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 6, 2007


Briarwood has had Friday, Dec. 7 circled on its calendar since at least their first 7-on-7 passing camp, and most likely since falling to Athens in the first round last season.

Now the Lions’ dream is coming true, as No. 1 ranked, undefeated Briarwood (14-0) will meet pre-season No. 1 St. Paul’s (13-1) in the Class 5A state title game Friday at 7 p.m.

Sophomore halfback Caleb Castille said in July that winning a title this season is simply for head coach Fred Yancey. Yancey says he cares more about watching a fourth team win, than him getting any personal recognition of winning four at one school.

“For these kids, I want it as bad as I’ve wanted any game ever in my life. I want to see those guys finish out the season undefeated and state champs,” Yancey said following Friday’s win at Cullman. “I’m pulling for us to do it for their sake. For me, the thrill is watching our kids get rewarded for their hard work.”

Briarwood won 3A titles in 1998 and 1999, and a 5A title in 2003. An eighth grader on the sidelines of the 2003 title game will look to lead the Lions in battle this year. Senior quarterback Barrett Trotter has come a long way since that eighth-grade year, collecting just shy of 4,000 yards of total offense and more than 50 total touchdowns this season.

St. Paul’s quarterback A.J. McCarron has racked up more than 2,400 yards passing and 26 passing touchdowns as a junior. The match-up could decide the honor of 5A Back of the Year, which will be named on Nov. 11.

Briarwood’s defense has allowed just over 11 points per game. However, despite losing to Williamson, 40-7, in the second week of the season, St. Paul’s has rallied to allow just 8.6 points per game.


For the first time in school history, the Spain Park Jaguars will play in the Super 6 Class 6A football state championship at Legion Field.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is the Jags (13-1) will face off against the defending 6A state champs – the Prattville Lions (14-0).

Prattville, led by quarterback Casey Weston, has run through opponents this season, and the Lions carry a 29-game win streak into Saturday’s game at 3 p.m.

The Lions have outscored opponents this season, 593-119, behind a stellar defense and an extremely potent offense.

Although Larry Smith has graduated and moved on to Vanderbilt, Weston has picked up right where the former Mr. Football left off and has his Lions ready to pounce on a second-consecutive state title thus owning the entire city of Hoover after beating Spain Park’s cross-town rival, the Hoover Bucs, last year.

The Jaguars are not willing to give up before the opening whistle sounds.

After dropping back-to-back games in September, the Jags have reeled off 10 consecutive wins to advance to the title game, and the players know they are in position to make school history for the second time in two weeks.

Following Friday’s semifinal win over Vestavia Hills, a team that beat Spain Park earlier in the season, running back Eli Smith shared a few thoughts on this year’s senior class and just what this run at the title means to the Jaguar program.

“Ever since we came (to Spain Park), we thought this was going to happen. That’s what we set our goal as our freshman year, and now it’s come to pass,” Smith said. “Now we just have to finish it off.”

And if the Jags do finish it off, it will be history.

“I think this is a good foundation for Spain Park to build a tradition,” Smith said