SARALAND -- The 2018 Alabama High School Football regular season closed with one of the top games of the year between the undefeated Saraland Spartans hosting the Spanish Fort Toros. The Spartans …
SARALAND -- The 2018 Alabama High School Football regular season closed with one of the top games of the year between the undefeated Saraland Spartans hosting the Spanish Fort Toros. The Spartans were favorites by many of the media’s outlets but the Toros were the more dominant and consistent team as they took down the Spartans 28-16 to claim their sixth region title in seven years.
The Spartans started off with a drive that concluded with an 8-yard rushing touchdown from Spartans Running Back Karie White. They failed to take advantage from a Toros fumble on the kickoff by missing a 38-yard field goal. The Toros managed to get a drive going by using their diverse setting of running schemes and talented running backs. The elusive and electrifying playmaker Kris Abrams-Draine, stout power runner Mike Franklin and the starterConner Hegan, who is back at full health, paved a way for the Toros offense to a successful offensive night. Hegan got the Toros on the board in their second drive of the game at the end of the first quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans were able to take a 10-7 lead into halftime including a 23-yard field goal from Spartans Kicker Cole Robitzsch. In the third quarter, Franklin punched in a 1-yard touchdown to put the Toros up 14-10. Two plays later from scrimmage, Rashawn McAlpine fumbled the ball and Toros star Desmond “DJ” James returned the fumble for a 25-yard touchdown. The Spartans made too many mistakes in the second half with two fumbles and a turnover-on-downs. After a second rushing touchdown from Spartans Karie White late in the fourth quarter, the Spartans failed to recover on an onside kick. Three plays later, Abrams-Draine rushed for a Toros’ 45-yard touchdown to put the nail in the coffin.
The Toros defense continued to show out by pulling through at the most needed times. The Toros defense accounted for two turnovers and two turnover-on-downs. James accounted for five and a half tackles, two tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery resulting in a 25-yard touchdown. Ryan Duff accounted for five total tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass-breakup, recovered an onside kick and had another terrific night punting the ball. Abrams-Draine ran the ball nine times for 91 yards and a touchdown. Franklin ran five times for 21 yards and a touchdown. Hegan ran the ball 20 times for 117 yards (an average of 5.9 yards per rush) and a touchdown.
It was a scary moment in the game as Spartans DeMarcus Thomas looked to have suffered a spinal injury late in the fourthquarter. Thomas was carted off the field and quickly taken to Mobile Infirmary. It is reported that Thomas has gained the mobility in his arms and legs.
The Saraland Spartans (9-1) will host the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs (6-4) this Friday night in the first round of the 6A playoffs. The 6A Region 1 champions in the Spanish Fort Toros (9-1) will host the Benjamin Russell Wildcats (6-4) in the first round of the 6A playoffs Friday night.