Photo by Ted Melton
Spain Park Football
Spain Park's Jack Connell (27) celebrates the interception snagged by Damarius Farmer (11) in a game between Spain Park and Gadsden City at Titan Stadium on Friday, August 19, 2016.
The Spain Park High School football team escaped the first week of the regular season with a hard-fought, 21-17 road victory over Gadsden City on Friday, Aug. 19.
Now, the Jags will look to bring that momentum back to their own turf.
This Friday, Aug. 26, Spain Park will host Class 6A Muscle Shoals in its 2016 home opener at Jaguar Stadium — a venue where the Jags went undefeated last fall.
Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney said his team’s season-opening victory at Gadsden City gives it momentum and confidence heading into its upcoming matchup.
“I thought getting off to a start like this with a huge win coming on the road to who I think is a top 10 team in the state and getting a win…it’s big,” Raney said after the game. “We’re in a position we’ve never been in in a long time, and I was concerned about our kids, but they’re the same hard-fighting group that we ended with last year.”
Spain Park, a defending 7A state finalist, held a 21-14 halftime lead against Gadsden City, but had to rely on a staunch defensive effort late in the fourth quarter to hold off a pair of Titan scoring threats.
Jags senior defensive back Damarius Farmer clinched the game with an interception in his own end zone with about 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in regulation.
Farmer’s pick capped a strong showing by the Spain Park defense, which limited Gadsden City to 163 yards of total offense.
“It gives them confidence, because any time you play well as a unit, you’re just going to continue to build off that, and I think that’s what we can do with our defense,” Raney said after the game.
The Jags defense will aim to duplicate its performance against a Muscle Shoals team that lost its season opener last Friday to Gardendale, 14-10.
Spain Park and Muscle Shoals have never met on the gridiron.
The Trojans are coming off an 11-1 season in 2015 that ended in the second round of the state playoffs. In February, they received a postseason ban from the AHSAA due to recruiting violations; the ban, which was slated to take effect in 2016, was recently dropped after a successful appeal.
Spain Park went 9-0 at home in 2015, and limited visiting opponents to an average of four points per game; four of the nine home wins were recorded in shutout fashion.
Kickoff at Jaguar Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.