Spain Park Jaguars finish on top in Troy 7-on-7 tournament

Published 12:32 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

TROY – Ahead of the 2024 season for the Spain Park Jaguars, head coach Tim Vakakes saw his team have massive success at the Troy 7-on-7 tournament held on the campus of Troy University.

The Jaguars took home the championship at the event held on June 13. They pulled off an impressive 8-1 record, capped off with a victory over Mosley High School out of Florida in the finals.

Spain Park went 4-1 in pool play, with every win coming after it dropped the first game. It carried that momentum it gained into the bracket portion of the tournament, where it went 4-0 and finished it with a 31-23 win in the championship.

Despite losing the first game of pool play to St. James 21-16, the defensive performance that the Jaguars put on was stellar, giving up less than 16 in every other game they played.

This put Spain Park in a phenomenal spot heading into bracket play, earning a high seed in the second portion of this tournament. This allowed it to a first round victory over Loachapoka, 28-10.

Following that, the Jaguars pulled out its closest game of the event in the second round, defeating Percy Julian 17-14 to secure a spot in the semifinals.

It seemed that Spain Park did not want to have that close of a call again, which pushed it to show out defensively and defeat last year’s Class 6A champion in Clay-Chalkville, 22-2.

That set up the ending that the Jaguars wanted, despite it being the only time in the tournament that they gave up over 20 points. They certainly made a statement, sending off positive vibes for Vakakes in preparation for the upcoming season.

Quarterback Brock Bradley certainly stood out throughout the camp, along with wide receivers Mitchell Frazier and Mason McClure. Their performance gave way to the defense, who came up with many red zone stops throughout the day.

Spain Park will now turn to continue its workouts and preparation prior to fall camp and the 2024 season.

The Jaguars are attempting to continue the positive energy off of a 7-3 campaign in 2023, one that ultimately saw them miss out on the playoffs due to head-to-head results within the region. Their losses came at the hands of Hoover, Thompson and Vestavia Hills, all of whom made the postseason from Class 7A, Region 3.

Despite the success, though, Spain Park will have to compete down in Class 6A, Region 3 against a number of new opponents. It will face four county teams as a result of its reclassification, including Calera, Chelsea, Helena and Pelham.

The Jaguars will open up the 2024 season on Friday, Aug. 23 at home against Sparkman before making a road trip to renew their rivalry with Hoover in week two. After that, they will take their bye week before beginning their newest region schedule.