Jaguars pounce on Austin in opener

By JOSH ETHRIDGE /For the Reporter

Spain Park used their big-play ability to defeat Austin High School on Friday night. They won with the final score of 23-14.

The Jaguars pounced on the Bears early, scoring a 35-yard field goal kicked by Thomas Taylor, on their first possession.  The 58-yard drive gave them a 3-0 advantage with 4:13 left in the first quarter.

Austin promptly responded with a score.  It took only four plays to strike for their first points of the game, coming on a 39-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good, making the score 7-3 Austin with 3:13 left in the first quarter.

Despite the early hiccup, the Spain Park defense only allowed 10 yards to Austin over the next three drives.

As halftime approached, the Jaguar offense started to gain some offensive momentum again.  First-year starting quarterback Mickey Forrest was able to connect with wide receiver Dalton Brown on a 35-yard touchdown.  With that score Spain Park regained the lead, making it 10-7 with 3:25 left in the half.

The Bears threw an interception on each of their final two drives of the half, giving Spain Park a three point advantage at the break.

AHS struck first in the second half scoring a touchdown on a 20-yard run. Following the extra point, the Jaguars found themselves trailing again, 14-10 with 4:34 left in the third quarter.

The Black Bear lead did not hold up long. Seven plays later, running back Otis Harris broke free for a 42-yard touchdown. The extra point made the score 17-14, advantage Spain Park.

Following Jaguar score, Austin put together an impressive 55-yard drive, but Spain Park was able to block a field goal attempt with 10:07 left in the contest.

The Jaguar’s scored on their next drive with another touchdown run by Harris, this time a 45-yarder. The two-point attempt failed, putting Spain Park ahead 23-14 with eight minutes left in regulation.

The Black Bears threatened to score late in the fourth quarter, but threw an interception in the end zone to defensive back Michael Jackson.

After Jackson’s interception, his second of the day, Spain Park was able to run out the clock.

“We said in the locker room (at halftime), we’ve just got to find ways to make plays to win the game and I thought that’s what we did.” said Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney

Spain Park running back Otis Harris finished the game with 139 yards rushing and 49 receiving yards, scoring two touchdowns.

The Jaguars will travel to Prattville to play the Lions Sept. 6.