Spain Park reveals football schedule for return to Class 6A

Published 5:23 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After a move down to Class 6A, the Spain Park Jaguars have charted their path through their first season in the classification since 2013 with the release of their 2024 football schedule.

The Jags will take on Sparkman, Hoover, James Clemens and Gardendale in non-region play along with their new Class 6A, Region 3 opponents Helena, Benjamin Russell, Pelham, Chelsea, Calera and Chilton County.

Spain Park will kick off its season at home on Aug. 23 against the Sparkman Senators in the first of two straight battles against Class 7A opposition.

This is the first time that the Jags and Senators have squared off since 2005, and Spain Park is 2-1 all-time in the series including a meeting in the 2004 playoffs. Sparkman finished a game off of the playoffs with a 5-5 record in Class 7A, Region 4, which should make it a solid test for the Jags.

Then, Spain Park will travel across town for the latest installment of its rivalry with Hoover on Aug. 30 at the Hoover Met.

Last year’s meeting in Class 7A, Region 3 play was a tight 28-20 battle that ultimately went the Bucs’ way, but not before the Jags had their chances to win.

While there won’t be playoff stakes on the line, Spain Park will be motivated to get city bragging rights and break its eight-game losing streak against Hoover.

The Jags will then take their bye week on Sept. 6 before traveling to Helena to face the Huskies on Sept. 13 to start region play.

This will be the first meeting in program history between the two teams, and it should be a great game between the reigning region runner-up Huskies and a Spain Park team that competed well in a difficult Class 7A region in 2023.

The week after, the Jags will have another first-time matchup on their hands against the reigning Class 6A, Region 3 champion in the Benjamin Russell Wildcats at home on Sept. 20.

This is another intriguing matchup pitting a Wildcats side that is losing multiple All-State players against Spain Park with the potential for big playoff stakes on the line.

Afterwards, the Jags will take a brief break from region play to take a trip north to Madison to take on the James Clemens Jets on Sept. 27.

The Jets are the third and final Class 7A opponent that Spain Park will face in 2024, and this will be the first regular season meeting between the teams after a pair of playoff encounters in 2015 and 2016.

James Clemens was the region champion in Class 7A, Region 4 last season at 7-4, which will make it interesting to see how the Jags size up against it.

Then, Spain Park will start a stretch of three straight county games with a road trip to the Pelham Panthers on Oct. 4.

The Jags won last year’s non-region matchup 39-0 in the season finale, but this year’s game will have both a change of scenery and the addition of playoff stakes.

Spain Park will then have a short week before facing the Chelsea Hornets at home on Thursday, Oct. 10.

For the last two years, the Jags and Hornets shared Class 7A, Region 3, and now, the two teams will remain in the same region as they both go down to Class 6A. Spain Park will look to stay unbeaten all-time against Chelsea after winning the last four meetings.

Afterwards, the Jags will have its final home game of the season against the Calera Eagles on Oct. 18.

Spain Park won last year’s meeting 55-0 in the season opener, and as the teams become regional foes, Calera will have a new face in charge with Scott Rials taking over as head coach.

The Jags will conclude region play with the first of back-to-back road games when they face the Chilton County Tigers on Oct. 25.

This will also be a first-time matchup for Spain Park’s program. Since there is always the potential for playoff stakes in the final week of region play, the Jags will likely be looking forward to facing a Tigers team that went 4-6 and will have a new coach next year.

Finally, Spain Park will take on the Gardendale Rockets on Nov. 1 on the road in their regular season finale.

The Jags lead the all-time series 3-1 but have not faced the Rockets since 2009. While playoff scenarios will likely be decided by this point, Spain Park will look to take its fourth straight win over a Gardendale team that went 3-8 in 2023.