Spain Park edges Oak Mountain

Published 2:26 am Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spain Park held on to beat Oak Mountain, 29-25, in a thriller that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

Jaguar senior Frank Fleming intercepted quarterback Drew McKnight with 21 seconds left to spoil Oak Mountain’s comeback.

“It was surreal. It didn’t really hit me that I had caught it at first,” Fleming said.

The pick ended all hopes for an Oak Mountain victory during Senior Night – though a win seemed like a sure thing just a couple of minutes earlier.

The Eagles took their first and only lead of the night when McKnight found receiver Davis Dudchock on fourth down from 32 yards out with 2:53 left in the game.

The touchdown brought the Eagle bench to life and put Oak Mountain up, 25-22.

“It was very emotional. We played a good football team,” said Dudchock, who finished the night with 76 yards on six catches.

Spain Park stayed cool and answered with a 4-yard touchdown run by Alton Daniels. The score put the Jaguars back on top and capped scoring for the night with 1:02 to play.

“I’m proud of our players,” said Spain Park head coach David Shores. “We’ve struggled at times this season. This gives the seniors something to feel good about. We want to finish strong.”

Spain Park came ready to play, taking a 17-0 lead early.

A 30-yard field goal by Charbel Ghossein started the fireworks, which was quickly followed by a 4-yard touchdown run by Daniel Watkins.

Daniels then found the end zone from 3 yards out for his first of two touchdowns.

Oak Mountain finally responded with a 9-yard touchdown pass from McKnight to Jonathan Bush.

The Eagles newly found momentum continued with a 10-yard touchdown pass from McKnight to Zach May.

The score tightened to 17-12 at halftime.

Neither team scored in the third quarter though Oak Mountain did have a great opportunity after Wes Alexander recovered a punt block deep inside Jaguar territory.

The Eagles couldn’t capitalize as McKnight threw an interception to Taylor Hopkins on the very next play.

Ghossein added another field goal for Spain Park early in the fourth to increase the lead back to 8 points, 20-12.

The game looked out of hand for the Eagles when McKnight was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

But Oak Mountain stopped the Jaguars and drove down field, scoring off a 17-yard pass from McKnight to Jake Gayle.

Wes Alexander picked off Graham Craig to set up the go-ahead touchdown before Spain Park answered with Daniels’ run to secure the victory.

“The start hurt us. We made a couple of mistakes,” said Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood. “But they came to fight. They preserved and showed really good character. It was a good high school football game.”

Neither Oak Mountain (2-7, 1-7) nor Spain Park (3-6, 3-5) are eligible for the playoffs. The Eagles will wrap up their season next week at Paul Bryant while Spain Park will host Huntsville for homecoming.