Act II of the Chad Anderson era has gotten off to the exact same way it did last fall.
In a repeat to the start of the 2012 football season, Prattville (0-2, 1-0 Class 6A, Region 4) finds itself staring down the barrel of an 0-2 record following Friday night’s 19-16 disappointing overtime setback to Spain Park at Stanley-Jensen Stadium.
“Our backs are not against the wall, it’s just the first game of the region,” Anderson said. “If we continue to improve, this will be a very good football team in the playoffs. It’s going to play a lot on the mindset of the players and the coaches.
“We’re not overly dominant as we’ve been in years past, but we have great players and they play hard. If they continue to push forward, continue to believe and work together as a team, then we’ll be fine.”
The Lions grabbed a 16-13 lead in OT on sophomore A.J. Reed’s 32-yard field goal. However, Spain Park, as it did during the closing minutes of regulation, controlled the line of scrimmage as running back Otis Williams scored the winning touchdown on third down.
Prattville held a 13-6 edge with just more than five minutes remaining until quarterback Kalen Whitlow’s costly fumble inside Spain Park territory changed everything. The Jaguars (2-0, 1-0) marched 66 yards on nine plays to lock the scoreboard at 13-13 on Williams’ TD run with 2:12 left.
“Our offense just kept hanging in there,” Spain Park coach Shawn Raney said. “I think their defense got a little tired, and we made some plays when we had to because we didn’t make any all night up until that point. I am proud of our kids, they just kept fighting.”
Prattville still could have won it in regulation. Running back Kamyrn Pettway, an Auburn commitment, broke for a 50-yard gain to get the Lions down to their opponent’s 30. But the drive would stall with Spain Park’s defensive line not allowing any yardage the next three plays to force a punt.
“They had some penetration that caught us in the backfield a few times,” Anderson said. “That hurt a little bit. You want to be in it at the end against a good football team, and we had our chances, but it slipped away again.”
With the Lions trailing 3-0 early, Pettway broke away for a 57-yard TD up the middle in the first quarter. The score had to be extra special for the senior because Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was in attendance to watch his star prospect.
“I thought they played their butts off,” Raney said of Prattville’s first-half performance.
Reed connected on a pair of 23-yarders to help Prattville forge a 13-3 edge at halftime. James Powell, a defensive back, intercepted Mickey Forrest’s pass on Spain Park’s first play of the second quarter, ultimately leading to Reed’s first field goal of the half.
Spain Park had an opportunity to shorten its deficit right before the break, but Thomas Taylor misfired from 34 yards out. The senior kicker bounced back to drill a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter.