By Lee Davis
Journal Sports Writer
Spain Park was due some good news.
With head coach David Shores on administrative leave because of an alleged incident at a practice, the Jaguars’ football season was off to a difficult start. On top of that, the team had suffered two consecutive losses, including a 44-0 defeat at the hands of archrival Hoover.
It didn’t look any easier, either, as Spain Park journeyed to Waldrop Stadium to face undefeated Homewood in week three action, Sept. 10.
But finally, the Jaguars got some long overdue good fortune, as they battled the favored Patriots to a 29-29 tie in regulation before taking a thrilling 36-35 victory in the first overtime period.
Kevron McMillan’s five-yard touchdown run on Spain Park’s opening possession of overtime put the Jags ahead 35-29. Jake Hoffman’s extra point made the score 36-29.
Ameer Abdullah’s one-yard plunge brought Homewood to within a single point, 36-35.
The Patriots tried to go for a two-point conversion and victory, but Abdullah’s pass attempt was knocked away by the Jags’ Jamel Cook, preserving the victory for the visitors.
“Jamel made a great play, but that’s no surprise,” said interim Spain Park coach Ben Berguson. “He’s a great player.”
Cook’s heroics marked the final play of a game full of similar thrills.
Abdullah’s touchdown run in the first quarter gave Homewood an early 7-0 lead. The Jaguars countered with Reid Reinagel’s one-yard dive to pay dirt, tying the score at 7-7.
Steven Silvio’s two-yard touchdown run gave Spain Park a 13-7 lead at the end of the first period.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Mullens passed 20 yards to Zach Michael to stretch the Jags’ lead to 20-7 with 7:40 left in the first half. Hoffman’s 42-yard field goal gave Spain Park a commanding 23-7 halftime lead.
Hoffman added a 43-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, moving the Jags’ advantage to 26-7.
Abdullah ran 10 yards for his second touchdown of the evening, cutting Spain Park’s lead to 26-14 as the third quarter ended.
Homewood narrowed the margin again when Abdullah ran six yards for his third score. Bernard Holman’s extra point narrowed the gap to 26-21.
Abdullah broke loose again a few minutes later, dashing 40 yards for a touchdown. Aaron Ernest’s two-point run gave the Patriots a 29-26 lead.
Spain Park responded by driving to the Homewood 10-yard line. From there, Hoffman’s 28-yard field goal with 1:28 to go in regulation play tied the game, setting the stage for the Jaguars’ dramatic overtime win.
McMillan paced the Spain Park ground game, rushing for 91 yards on 15 carries. Abdullah ran for 177 yards on 23 carries in the losing cause.
The victory was a welcome event for the Jaguars, who had suffered through the uncertainty of their coaching situation and the pain of two disheartening losses.
“I’m proud of what our kids accomplished tonight,” said Berguson. “They have been through a lot. Hopefully we can build on this for the rest of the season.”
But those were thoughts for another day. At last, Spain Park had something to celebrate.