Spain Park survives Eagle scare, gets to 7-0
By CLAYTON HURDLE/For the Reporter
The story is becoming all too familiar for the Spain Park Jaguars.
Down early, the Jags rode reliable senior Otis Harris in the second half to yet another win, outlasting Oak Mountain on the road 21-17 to remain undefeated.
Harris ran the ball 14 times in the final quarter and a half for Spain Park, finishing with a hard-fought 90 yards and all three of Spain Park’s touchdowns.
“When I got the chance to get the ball, I took it,” Harris said. “The line did a good job and blocked for me. I just had to keep on pushing forward to get us in the lead.”
Harris added an additional 44 yards on five catches, including a first-quarter desperation touchdown grab and a gadget play reception that set up his later go-ahead score in the fourth.
Quarterback Mickey Forrest’s only touchdown throw of the night was a short, sack-avoiding heave on second-and-goal, which Harris caught and ran into the end zone seven minutes into the game.
The game’s opening score would prove to be Spain Park’s last until the 1:57 mark of the third quarter. Harris capped an 11-play, 73-yard drive with a three-yard run to cut the Eagles’ lead to 17-14.
On the scoring drive, Harris touched the ball for all but one play, gaining forward progress on nine rushes and a pass reception.
“Otis is a warrior,” Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney said. “We’ve been riding his back all year, and we will continue to ride his back.”
Between Spain Park’s first two touchdown drives, Oak Mountain held the Jags to just one first down, forcing three three-and-outs and four punts.
Offensively, Galen Lloyd, Warren and Harold Shader kept the ball on the ground while racking up a 17-7 Oak Mountain lead at the midpoint of the third quarter.
Lloyd, a senior fullback who led both teams with 23 total carries, scored the equalizing touchdown with 10:28 to play in the second quarter. A 25-yard Blake Miller field goal at the halftime whistle gave the Eagles a 10-7 lead at the intermission.
Oak Mountain’s last touchdown was an eight-yard Harold Shader rush with 6:17 to go in the third question.
The Jaguar defense kept Oak Mountain’s three-pronged rushing attack at bay until the Eagles’ final offensive drive of the game.
In response to Harris’s eventual game-winning three-yard rush with 5:41 left, Lloyd and the Eagles drove to the Spain Park 39 on a 12-play series.
The drive fell short after the Jags’ defense forced a fourth-and-12, standing strong on Warren Shader’s desperation pass attempt with a minute remaining to secure the win.
“I kept looking at the defense and looking at the clock, and I knew it was going to come down to that play,” Raney said. “We got to the quarterback, and he did what he was he was supposed to do and threw it up. Our kids made a play. It was a great ending to a great game.”
The Jaguars are now 7-0 (5-0 Class 6A Region 4) with a region game hosting Stanhope Elmore next week.
The Eagles (3-4, 2-3) will travel to Prattville next week, hoping to stay alive in the playoff race.