Enterprise upsets Jags in first round

Spain Park running back Otis Harris looks for room to run in a 30-27 loss in the first round of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs Nov. 8. (Contributed/Clayton Hurdle)

Spain Park running back Otis Harris looks for room to run in a 30-27 loss in the first round of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs Nov. 8. (Contributed/Clayton Hurdle)

By CLAYTON HURDLE/For the Reporter

HOOVER — As Jonathan Stinnett’s 27-yard overtime field goal sailed through the uprights, Spain Park’s run at a possible state championship came to a swift end.

The Enterprise Wildcats (7-4) withstood a furious Jaguar fourth-quarter rally to advance to the second round of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs, 30-27.

“We’re just heartbroken,” Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney said. “We had too many mistakes. It’s playoff football; you can’t do that in the playoffs against good football teams.”

Trailing 27-7 to start the fourth quarter, junior quarterback Mason Duke and the Spain Park defense led the Jags (8-3) to 20 unanswered points and forced the overtime period.

It took Spain Park four plays, 82 yards and 51 seconds for the Jags to score their first touchdown since early in the second quarter.

The scoring play was a 48-yard bomb to senior Dalton Brown. A missed Thomas Taylor extra point kept the Enterprise lead at 27-13.

The defense responded in a huge way just 30 seconds later when sophomore linebacker Perry Young forced an Enterprise fumble at the Wildcat nine-yard-line.

Duke and the Spain Park offense needed merely two plays to get the ball back in the end zone, this time on a 12-yard strike to senior Phillip Brown.

Down a touchdown, Spain Park had two consecutive drives end in Duke interceptions.

The Jaguar defense held strong, only allowing one first down in the entire quarter.

With two minutes remaining, it was up to Duke to drive the Jaguars 73 yards for the tying score.

Duke completed long passes to Dalton Brown and sophomore Wade Streeter before finding junior Derek Williams wide open in the middle of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown pass.

“That’s the story of our season,” Raney said. “We start slow, but they keep fighting. I’m proud of that.”

Spain Park began overtime with the ball. Two short Streeter runs and a sack of Duke set up a 33-yard Taylor field goal attempt.

Taylor’s attempt was just to the right of the goalpost, and Enterprise head coach David Faulkner wasted no time in sending on his field goal unit for the win.

“We would’ve gone into double overtime if we had missed it,” Faulkner said. “But if we had had a bad snap or something like that we could’ve laid on it and had a second down. It all worked out for us in the end.”

The Wildcats have now won two straight win-or-go-home games; Enterprise had to defeat Jefferson Davis last week to even make the playoffs.

“We’re not a team of talent,” Faulkner said. “We have to count on all 101 guys to do their job during the week, and come out to play with their best effort on every snap. We try to hang around and find a way to win the ball game.”

Enterprise has won six of its last seven games, and will play host to Smiths Station next week.

Meanwhile, Spain Park’s season ended with its third-straight one-score loss. Duke finished with four touchdowns, four interceptions and a third-quarter fumble.

“[Duke]’s good and bad, but we decided to go with him,” Raney said. “He played good in spots; he had some drops that weren’t his fault. We’ve got to go back [in the offseason], figure out what happened and get it fixed.”