By Rubin E. Grant
Mountain Brook coach Chris Yeager is eager to take the Spartans’ state football playoff show on the road.
After posting home wins in the first two rounds, Mountain Brook (11-1) will visit Pinson Valley (9-3) in the Class 6A quarterfinals Friday at 7 p.m.
“I am very excited about going on the road,” Yeager said. “You have to go on the road sometime if you continue to win. I am glad to be going back to Pinson because that’s where it ended for us last year.”
The Indians eliminated the Spartans 27-10 in the 2020 semifinals at Pinson.
“They’ve got a good environment,” Yeager added. “They’ve got good turf, so I’d rather be going somewhere with turf instead of natural grass. And it’s not a small facility, so that’s exciting too.”
Mountain Brook advanced to the quarterfinals with a 45-14 victory against Jackson-Olin (9-3) last Friday at Spartan Stadium.
Junior quarterback John Colvin threw three touchdown passes to junior receiver Jackson Beatty and junior running back Will Waldrop ran 24 times for 182 yards and three scores.
“We played complementary football,” Colvin said. “Our offense helped our defense, our defense helped our offense and our special teams played well. We ran the ball well, so we could pass it.”
Yeager was pleased with the performance of the Spartans’ offensive line.
“We did better at the line of scrimmage than I expected,” Yeager said. “Other than Clay-Chalkville, not many teams have a had a lot of success against them. I was pleased with our ability to pass protect and give Colvin time to throw.
“I was surprised we had some big plays. I didn’t know if we could manufacture big plays.”
Colvin and Beatty hooked up on touchdown passes covering 55 and 51 yards. Their other TD connection was for 19 yards.
The Spartans also received another solid effort from their defense, which held the Mustangs to only one offensive touchdown and 44 yards rushing while recording six sacks. Jackson-Olin, which also scored on an interception return, entered the game averaging 37 points a game.
“They came out with two tight ends, something you don’t see a lot of, but our defense did a good job of adjusting, especially in the second half,” Yeager said. “They played well.”
Yeager said the Spartans will need another solid performance to knock off Pinson Valley, the defending Class 6A state champions. The Indians shut out Oxford 20-0 in the second round to reach the quarterfinals.
“They look the same as they did last year without ‘Kool-Aid,’” Yeager said, with the “Kool-Aid” reference being the nickname of former Pinson star Ga’Quincy McKinstry, the 2020 Alabama Mr. Football. “They have the same quarterback (Zach Pyron).
“They have some losses, but they’re doing what they did last year, peaking late. They’re a championship-caliber team. It will be a great challenge for us.”
Colvin believes the Spartans will have a good chance to beat Pinson and reach the semifinals for the second consecutive year.
“We just have to keep building momentum, keep having fun and keep playing complementary football,” Colvin said. “Everyone has to be focused on doing their job.”
Mountain Brook (11-1) 45, Jackson-Olin (9-3) 14
Gardendale (10-2) 35, Homewood (6-6) 27
Clay-Chalkville (12-0) 56, Briarwood Christian (10-2) 21
Thompson (11-1) 45, Oak Mountain (7-5) 7
Hoover (12-0) 24, Hewitt-Trussville (9-3) 23
Mountain Brook (11-1) at Pinson Valley (9-3)
CLASS 7A – Semifinals
Thompson (11-1) at Hoover (12-0)