No. 1 Spain Park beats Oak Mountain in final 2 minutes to keep season alive

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars entered their first-round playoff matchup with No. 6 Oak Mountain as the top-ranked team in Class 7A but knew a difficult challenge was ahead against an Eagles’ team that had relied on defense much of the season.

Oak Mountain did it once again by holding the Jaguars scoreless for much of the game, but Spain Park’s persistent effort of not giving up despite frustrations of not scoring for 78 minutes of action finally paid off in the final two minutes of the game.

That’s when Alan Melendez finally found an opening and seized the moment.

In the biggest opportunity of the season, he capitalized by burying a shot in the back of the net with 1:13 to play.

His goal became the difference in the match and helped the Jags keep their season alive and advance in the postseason.

In addition to his late success on the offensive end, Spain Park came ready to play defensively as well.

The Jags matched the intensity of Oak Mountain in the first half, which led to a physical battle between the two teams.

Neither team was willing to let their season wend without contesting every ball and putting a body on somebody. That led to a scoreless first half with neither team getting very many clean looks at the goal in a tight rivalry battle between two teams separated by less than three miles.

That trend continued into the second half, as neither team gave much space for the other to work with.

But both started taking more risks, leading to opportunities.

Those opportunities continued to come and go without a goal for the majority of the half, but with the continued attempts finally came the game-winning goal off Melendez’s foot in the final two minutes to propel the Jags into the quarterfinals.

With the win, Spain Park improved to 16-1-3 overall this season, while Oak Mountain’s season came to an end with an overall record of 11-7-5.

The Jags will now travel to take on Grissom later this week for a spot in the Final Four.

Spain Park will travel to Grissom Friday night, April 30 for a quarterfinal matchup at 6 p.m.