Jowers’ 2 goals helps Spain Park remain unbeaten in area play
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – The speed of Kaleb Jowers was too much for Vestavia Hills on Tuesday, April 6 as the junior sprinted past defenders on multiple occasions to help the Spain Park Jaguars pick up a 3-1 victory on their home field.
Jowers scored twice in the first half on breakaways that saw him beat his defender due to pure speed and then added an assist in the second half to play a role in all three goals for the Jags in the win.
With the win, Spain Park improved to 11-1-3 overall on the season and 4-0 in area play.
It was an important win for the Jags, who squeaked by the Rebels in their first matchup of the season by a final of 2-1.
With this win, however, the Jags remained atop the area standings with every other team having two losses, meaning they are in line to get the top seed out of the area going into the postseason.
The only way that wouldn’t happen is if they lose to both Gadsden City and Hewitt-Trussville to complete area play, both of which Spain Park has beaten by a combined 8-0 this season.
The Jaguars have also been tough for any team to handle this season with the lone loss coming to No. 1 Hoover 2-0 and the three ties coming to other top-10 teams.
Taking on the No. 5 Rebels, Spain Park brought some early pressure to the game with control of the ball.
The Jags earned an early free kick on a breakaway, but the shot from Bryce Burdette hit the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
But the constant pressure and attacking from Spain Park on breakaways paid off when Jowers beat his defender up the right side of the field before sprinting toward the goal with the defender on his tail. He ripped a across to the left side of the goal and beat the keeper to put the Jaguars on top 1-0 with 27:35 left in the opening half.
From there, Vestavia controlled the ball for a large portion of the remaining time in the first period.
The Rebels earned a free kick with 15 minutes left from 30 yards out, but the shot hit the crossbar to keep the Jags in front 1-0.
Spain Park capitalized on the gift when a ball was played ahead again on a long pass to Jowers, who sprinted by the defense to catch up to it before burying his second shot of the half into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage with 12:50 to play in the frame.
Aside from that, however, the Rebels controlled the ball for the final 25 minutes of the period.
After two unsuccessful corner kicks, the constant pressure finally paid off when the Rebels scored with 7:22 left in the half to pull within one goal at the break.
Early in the second half, the game became much more of a back-and-forth battle, with both teams running up and down the field after every ball.
Both got good looks, but the back lines and keepers played well for each team with great saves for much of the half.
After Spain Park staved off several opportunities from the Rebels, Burdette got another look thanks to another breakaway.
This time, Jowers found the ball going up the left hand side of the field, and instead of trying to force a hat-trick goal into the back of the net, he slid the ball across the box to a wide open Burdette, who buried it into the back of the net with 6:38 to play.
That became the cherry on top for the Jaguars, who completed the 3-1 win.
Jowers finished with two goals and an assist in the win, while Burdette added the one goal.