Mullens leads Spain Park to win over Wetumpka

By Griffin Pritchard / Wetumpka Herald

WETUMPKA – The Wetumpka Indians refused to go quietly into that good night in their first meeting with Class 6A Region 4 leader Spain Park Friday night at Hohenberg Field.  The visiting Jaguars survived the encounter and claimed the 38-28 victory.

The Indians brought a new motivation to Friday¹s game, along with a new look on both sides of the ball.

Art Smith introduced himself to the Jaguars’ offense with a 35-yard interception return for an Indians touchdown on the third play of the game. Alex Lindsay added the point after and the Indians led 7-0.

But Spain Park answered with back-to-back scores.

Nick Mullens connected with Dalton Brown on an 8-yard fade over an Indians’ defensive back for the touchdown. Rondaius Johnson added the point after and knotted the game.

The Indians defense led by John John Neely and Hunter Reese forced a Spain Park punt, but the Tribe’s offense had the ball stripped after a slow-developing screen pass.

Spain Park, with wins already over region foes Chelsea and Prattville, marched down the field and capped the 48-yard drive with a 19-yard pass from Mullens to running back Otis Harris. With the point after, the Jaguars pushed ahead 14-7.

They never relinquished the lead again, despite the Indians continued fight.

Following a Sam Anderson interception return to inside the Indians 25, Wetumpka¹s defense – highlighted by a third-down Reese sack – held the Jaguars to a field goal.

The 17-7 tally served as the halftime mark, despite a pair of long runs by Crenshaw and first-time starting quarterback Dre Hutchinson.

The second half – especially the first few plays of the second half – had been the Tribe’s Achilles Heel through the first three games. Wetumpka changed that Friday night when Crenshaw fielded the kickoff and didn¹t stop running. The 98-yard kickoff return would have put the Indians back in the game, but a block in the back penalty led to the drive ending with a punt from their own 40.

Smith, on a 4-yard scamper for the Jaguars, capped a 77-yard scoring drive and pushed their lead to 24-7.

Spain Park attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by one of the Tribe’s front lineman.

Wetumpka’s drive ended on a fourth and four run by Hutchinson. The designed quarterback draw was halted at the 1-yard line.

Facing pressure from an Indians defender, a Mullens’ second down pass was

intercepted leading to an Indians touchdown at the 11:56 mark of the fourth quarter.

Spain Park had an answer for the Tribe’s first offensive touchdown of the night. The Mullens-to-Brown connection produced a touchdown and moved the Jaguars to a 31-14 lead following the point after.

Crenshaw fielded the ensuing kick with one foot in the end zone. The junior channeled his inner track star and sprinted the length of the football field (100 yards) for the touchdown. Lindsay added the point after. Again, the Tribe cut into the Jaguars’ lead, 31-21.

With momentum clearly shifted to the home side of Hohenberg Field, Wetumpka’s defense pinned its ears back and held conferences in the Spain Park backfield.

Mullens was sacked by a host of Tribe defenders on the first three plays of the drive following Crenshaw’s score.

Faced with a fourth and halfway to the interstate, Mullins connected with Josh Rich on a long first down pass. He completed another pass to move the Jaguars inside the Tribe¹s 20. He capped the 85-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass.

The point after gave the Jaguars a 38-21 lead with 7:43 left in the game.

Wetumpka’s defense forced another interception, leading to Crenshaw¹s third touchdown of the game.

The 38-28 score stood through the final horn giving the Jaguars the victory.

Spain Park, (3-1, 3-0) will host Lee (Montgomery) Friday in an out-of-region showdown.