Spartans land last blow in 2OT thriller with Spain Park

Published 12:13 am Saturday, September 23, 2017

MOUNTAIN BROOK – The 51-50 final score of the football game between Mountain Brook High School and visiting Spain Park only begins to describe the razor-thin margin.

It took a two-point conversion pass from Hamp Sisson to Wilson Higgins, in the second overtime, and the referees’ determination that Higgins was able to stay inbounds and maintain possession of the ball in order to separate the two teams, which competed in a wild second-half shootout after going into halftime with a comparatively ho-hum score of 14-7 Spain Park.

The teams combined for 129 plays and 895 total yards—with Spain Park gaining one more yard than their hosts, 448 to 447.

Senior quarterback Braxton Barker turned in another spectacular performance for SPHS, completing 22 passes in 28 attempts for 311 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing for 43 more yards on eight carries.

But he was matched by his counterpart Hamp Sisson, who rushed 19 times for 73 yards and passed for 243 yards on 20 attempts and 16 completions, none of which were more important than the game-winner to Higgins.

Though 14 touchdowns were scored in the game, neither team ever led by more than seven points.

Mountain Brook’s Harold Joiner started the scoring in the second quarter, then it was Barker passing to Jalen Henderson.

Barker gave the Jaguars (3-2 overall, 1-2 in Class 7A, Region 3) the halftime lead with a pass to Kenyon Hines.

Sisson tied it with a scramble early in the third quarter, and the Spartans (3-2, 1-2) took the lead on a pass from Sisson to Higgins, who hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch despite pass interference being called on the Spain Park defender.

The Jags tied it again on a D’Arie Johnson run in the final seconds of the third quarter and then took the lead on a one-yard run by Johnson with 6:53 remaining in the game.

The point-after was missed, however, and Mountain Brook went up 28-27 on a one-yard run by Joiner about three minutes later.

Barker passed to M.J. Rogers for a 33-28 lead with 1:27 to go, but the game was far from over.

MBHS drove right down the field and scored on a 10-yard, weaving run by Sisson, then added a two-point conversion on a jump pass from Joiner to Higgins.

Spain Park took possession on its own 35-yard line with only 30 seconds left on the clock, but Barker moved the Jaguars to within field goal range.

Cole Starr sent the visiting sideline into a frenzy with a 41-yard field goal to tie the game at 36-all as time expired.

The celebration was short-lived as Joiner ran in the first play of the first overtime for a touchdown, but the score was answered by a five-yard pass from Barker to Joseph Dennis.

Johnson ran in for a score on the first possession of the second overtime, but then Sisson connected on consecutive passes to Hamp Greene and Higgins for the Spartans win.

After the game, Spain Park coach Shawn Raney accepted responsibility for the loss.

“I’m the head coach; I’ve got to get us ready to play,” Raney said.

Other highlights for the Jags included Jalen McMillan hauling in seven catches for 97 yards, Cedric Tooson’s team-high eight tackles, 6.5 stops by Clay Christian and Hayes Cole’s 2.5 tackles for loss.

After a bye week, Spain Park will try to get back on track and end a two-game losing skid when the Jaguars visit Huffman on Friday, Oct. 6.

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