Spain Park wins 63-62 thriller against Hueytown

Published 12:43 am Friday, October 30, 2020

By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

HUEYTOWN – As the temperatures dropped across the state, the one hot spot left in Alabama happened to be Hueytown High School as they welcomed the Spain Park Jaguars for each team’s regular season finale.

A total of 1,300 yards and 125 points later, and the Jags escaped after a couple of big stops with a 63-62 win.

Not having led all the way up to a 56-56 tie, Michael Ogletree flipped the script with a big defensive play for the Jags thanks to an interception following the game-tying touchdown in the final quarter.

That led to the Jags taking their first lead of the game a few plays later when junior quarterback Bennett Meredith hit Cooper Kelley for one of their many connections on the night, this one a 7-yard touchdown.

With 21 seconds to play, it was almost expected for the Golden Gophers to answer with a touchdown in the offensive chess match, and that’s exactly what they did. But they decided to go for two and the win.

That’s when Ogletree stepped up again with another big defensive stop to save the 63-62 win on a night otherwise highlighted by the offense.

The first half was entertaining as Hueytown scored on its first two drives. Spain Park answered with Meredith’s 29-yard shot to Kelley as the two started a special night.

With the Gophers driving again inside the Jaguars’ red zone, a false start penalty and a bad snap forced a third down and long. Hueytown initially looked to go for a field goal but went for it in the end and Spain Park’s defense knocked the desperation pass away for the turnover.

Meredith struck quickly to Jaylen Ward for a 51-yard gain as he eluded defenders to the Gophers’ 26-yard line. Four plays later Justin Pegues plunged in from the 12-yard line to tie it 14-14.

The two teams traded touchdown drives, but Hueytown’s run game was unstoppable, and the Gopher’s scored their last three touchdowns on the ground. That led to Hueytown taking a 35-21 lead into halftime, which was just the beginning of the fireworks.

Spain Park opened the third quarter with the game’s longest drive, all of 3:26. It was the first of six straight for the Spain Park offense that had been so prolific all year.

The Jags were down multiple scores on different occasions, trailing 14-0, 35-21, 42-28 and 49-35, but they weren’t going to be denied with some help from the defense. Meredith also spread it around to five different receivers, but did the majority of his damage with Kelley and Ward.

Hueytown had no answer for the duo as Kelley led all receivers with a monster 232 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions. Ward nabbed a game-high 11 receptions for 165 yards and one touchdown.

After falling behind 49-35, the Jags got two touchdowns from Pegues on the ground and two passing touchdowns from Meredith to Cooper to reach 63 points and complete the comeback.

Meredith saved his best performance for last going 34-41 for 514 yards, four touchdowns and ran for a TD as well. Pegues added 83 total yards of offense with three rushing touchdowns.

Ogletree’s heroic plays on defense. With the game tied 56-56 the Jaguar defense got pressure from the rush and the senior leaped to snatch the ball as he came down in Hueytown territory.

He would also be in on the final tackle as the Gophers went for 2-point conversion and the win with seconds remaining. Ogletree’s stuff sent the team running up the sideline with the game in hand. Spain Park finishes the year 4-6, but return nearly their entire cast on offense in 2021.