Ted Melton/ ActionSportsPix.SmugMug.com
Spain Park opens the Class 7A playoffs Friday night at 7 p.m. when the Jaguars host Hazel Green.
Tickets are $8.
The Jaguars (9-1), the Class 7A, Region 3 champion, and Hazel Green (5-5), the Region 4 fourth-place team, have never met in football.
The Jags closed the regular season with a nine-game winning streak, beating Bessemer City 24-6 in the regular-season finale. They relied on their tried-and true method of running and solid defense mixed with a pass here and there.
“I believe you've got to play great defense, run the football this time of year,” said Spain Park coach Shawn Raney said after the game. “That’s what we’ve done all year and been successful. We’ve limited the turnovers – I don’t think we had one. I think we’ve got four all year in 10 games. If we can continue to do what we’re doing then I think that’s what you’ve got to do heading into the playoffs.
“The last two weeks have been tough for us,” said Raney. “There’s not a lot to play for but you’ve got to keep the momentum of the season going. We got to rev it up this week with Hazel Green coming in.”
If the Jags win, they’ll host again next week. They would face the winner of Hewitt-Trussville-James Clemens. The Jags would host Hewitt because they finished ahead of the Huskies in the region and they’d host the Jets because Spain Park is on the lower line of the bracket.
This is Spain Park’s ninth appearance in the playoffs. The Jaguars are 11-8 in playoff games. They are 5-3 in first round games.
Their deepest run was in 2007 when they made it to the 6A state final, losing to Prattville 14-0 at Legion Field. John Grass, now the Jacksonville State coach, was the Jags coach and Bill Clark, now the UAB coach, was the Prattville coach.