Photos by Ted Melton/ ActionSportsPix
Spain Park Football
Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney in a game between Mountain Brook and Spain Park on Friday, September 16, 2016, at Spain Park Stadium in Hoover, Alabama.
At the halfway point of the football season, the surprise of Class 7A, Region 3 has been Huffman High School.
It's Spain Park's job to begin to dampen some of that excitement this week, as the Jaguars host the Vikings in a region game -- one of four straight to determine how the region will shake out at the conclusion of the regular season.
The Jags are 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the region, losers of back-to-back contests entering last week's open date. Following a strong 3-0 start, the Jags scuffled in a loss to rival Hoover and a last-second 23-21 defeat at the hands of Mountain Brook.
D'Arie Johnson scored late in the fourth quarter to give Spain Park a one-point lead over Mountain Brook, before the Spartans drove the length of the field to set up the game-winning field goal.
It took the Jags too long to find its rhythm in the game and it cost them.
“You have to play all four quarters, or you’re going to get beat. And that’s what happened to us,” Raney said after the game.
Huffman is coming off a victory over Class 6A McAdory and is 3-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 3.
The Vikings were able to win consecutive home games against Oak Mountain and Tuscaloosa County before facing a dose of reality at Vestavia Hills two weeks ago. The Rebels scored five touchdowns in the first quarter and hung on for a 35-21 win.
The Jags need a win to stay in good shape in terms of a playoff berth, but there is plenty of time left in the season and plenty of room for movement up and down the standings.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Jaguar Stadium.