Prattville vs. Spain Park

This afternoon the Prattville High School football team will prance onto the turf of historical old Legion Field for the fourth time in the history of the football program. Prattville's third trip to the championship game in four seasons will bring a large number of frenzied fans from the preferred community to cheer for the Lions.

It will be a remarkable run for the seniors on this team, and something for the underclassmen to mark on their things to do in the fall of 2008. Prattville's senior class has won one state title, and three region championships while compiling an 41-1 record. While the opponent is the normal Birmingham school that is accustomed to playing for all the marbles, the opposing team is from Hoover.

The Spain Park Jaguars is not only from Hoover, but they are a well coached and polished high school football team that has improved vastly from the opening day of the long football season.

The Jags are also a much improved team than the one the Lions saw in their annual spring jamboree with Mary Montgomery and Spain Park.

Spain Park is a very good football team, and it will take a near perfect game for the Lions to capture their second consecutive crown.

Not only is it a very interesting match between two long time friends, Prattville's Bill Clark and Spain Park's John Grass, dating back to college days at Jacksonville State University, but it will match two schools who only recently have entered into elite programs of the state class 6A schools.

Prattville's Clark had to shake off the domination of the Montgomery schools, as the Lions' program for years lived and toiled in the shadows of the likes of Montgomery's Robert E. Lee and Jeff Davis, and in a lesser role Sidney Lanier and Carver.

It took Spain Park's John Grass only two seasons to get out from under the long shadow of Propst's unbelievable run at Hoover.

The Spain Park run to the championship round didn't come easy, Grass has put countless hours of hard work into the program, and defeated some excellent teams on their march to Legion Field.

Spain Park is a senior laden team with no less than 44 seniors on the roster out of the103 listed on the 2007 program. Prattville has 33 seniors on the roster of 125.

It was the exploits of senior running backs James Willis and Eli Smith who led the Jags potent ground attack throughout the season and especially during the playoff run.

Senior quarterback Cody Wells has also been a sparkplug for the Jaguars. In the semifinal win over Vestavia Hills, a team that blew the Jags away earlier in the regular season 21-0, Wells hit 5-of-9 passes for 96 yards. Willis rushed for 94 yards on 23 carries, and Smith added 76 on 16 trips.

While the offense has performed well, it has been the five man front that has carried the Jags. Seniors Eric Jones (6-7, 285), Jeff Benson (6-1, 280), Drew Watson (5-11, 200) and juniors Evan Windfall (6-3, 270) and Jesse Grisham (6-3, 235) have constantly opened huge hole for Willis and Smith.

The defensive front of Darius McMullin (Jr., 6-2, 260), Zach Payne (Sr., 6-3, 240), William Green (Sr., 6-4, 230, a highly recruited prospect) and Jonathan Sullivan (Sr., 6-3, 215) took care of Vestavia Hills great running back Justin Rogers.

There is no doubt it is the biggest challenge for defensive coordinator Duwan Walker to slow down the Jaguars Express and for offensive coordinator Jamey DuBose to plan an attack to dent the Jags' tough defense.

Prattville enters the game hobbled with All-State running back Justin Albert still nursing an injury. Three starters, linebacker Brady Sutley, offensive lineman Richard Long and defensive lineman Anthony Holland will miss the game, all out with season-ending injuries.

The weather forecast for Saturday afternoon calls for partly cloudy conditions with a slight chance of a rain shower between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The rain chance is 20 percent, and the clouds are 50 percent. The high is forecasted for 70 degrees. source for Alabama high school football.

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