Jags take down Jets in thriller, set up Hoover rematch
Published 10:50 pm Friday, November 13, 2015
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
HOOVER – As soon as Spain Park senior defensive back Chase Young came down with the ball after intercepting James Clemens quarterback Joseph Arias at the Jets’ 35-yard line, he knew he was going into the endzone.
“I saw the ball coming and I saw so much field to the right and I just took off running, man,” a still-smiling Young said after his No. 1-ranked team gutted out a 13-10 victory over the No. 2 Jets on Nov. 13. “The whole time, all I was thinking about was my team, all my fellow seniors, and I just knew that our season can’t end tonight.”
In the first half of the contest, it appeared as if the Jaguars’ season would end in the second round of the 7A playoffs. Unable to find any offensive rhythm at all, Spain Park found itself in a 10-0 hole as it headed into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, the Jags were a different beast altogether.
“(At halftime), I said ‘All the work y’all have done, you can’t let it go like this.’ We challenged their manhood,” Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney said after the game. “They came out in the second half a totally different team, so I was proud of them.”
After James Clemens recovered a Spain Park fumble at the Jags’ 21 yard line, placekicker Will Grochowski put the Jets up 3-0 on a 29-yard field goal.
With 1:01 left in the second quarter, the Jets found the endzone for the first and only time on the night when Monty Rice ran 13 yards for a touchdown, putting the Jets up 10-0.
After a scoreless third quarter, Spain Park got on the board in its first play of the fourth quarter when placekicker Crosby Gray split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal to cut the Jets’ lead to 10-3.
On James Clemens’ next possession, Young brought the Jaguar crowd alive on his 35-yard pick-six to tie the game at 10 with 10:02 left in the contest.
After a James Clemens fake punt attempt on fourth down failed, the Jags went to work at the Jets’ 38-yard line, but were unable to punch it into the endzone. Gray nailed a 40-yard field goal to put the home team ahead 13-10.
After forcing the Jets to punt the ball on their ensuing possession, Spain Park was forced to punt the ball to James Clemens with 2:59 remaining in the game.
After signaling fair catch, James Clemens’ Immanuel Wilder dropped the ball, allowing Spain Park senior defensive end Will Dailey to recover it at the Jets’ 17-yard line to seal the victory.
“I just saw a free ball on the ground. There was a play to be made, and I knew it had to be made to give this team some momentum and potentially end the game,” Dailey said after the game. “We just have another challenge ahead of us, and we’ve got to do our best.”
The Jags will face Hoover, a team they beat 17-0 in the regular season, in the 7A semifinals on Nov. 20.