CLASS 7A FINALS CAPSULE
At Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
SPAIN PARK (12-1) vs. MCGILL-TOOLEN (12-1)
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Playoff Path: Spain Park beat Hazel Green 31-7, James Clemens 13-10 and Hoover 7-6; McGill-Toolen beat Enterprise 30-13, Auburn 42-3 and Central-Phenix City 26-21
History in the finals: Spain Park lost to Prattville 14-0 in 2007 in its only finals appearance; McGill-Toolen is making its first championship game appearance.
Players to watch: Spain Park – QB Joey Beatty (Completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,503 yards, 13 TDs, three interceptions), RB Wade Streeter (905 yards rushing, 7 TDs), WR Bridge Suber (34 catches, 434 yards, 4 TDs), LB Houston Hollis (81 tackles), DE Damon Wright (45 tackles, team-high 13 for loss). McGill-Toolen – QB Paris Chambers (2,345 yards, 17 TDs passing; 617 yards, 10 TDs rushing), RB Terrell Kennedy (790 rushing yards, 10 TDs), LB DeAnthony Philon (92 tackles), LB Carlton Martial (13 tackles for loss, 11 sacks), CB Josh Williams (10 interceptions).
Noteworthy: Spain Park’s second win over Hoover ended the Bucs’ seven-year championship game streak, and 1999 was the last time neither Prattville nor Hoover made the finals. After missing the playoffs last year, the No. 1 Jaguars lost their opener in triple overtime to Austin but have reeled off 12 straight wins. Four of those victories have been by three points or less. Third-year coach Shawn Raney served as defensive coordinator at Hoover before taking the helm at Spain Park, having previously coached at Iowa State on Gene Chizik’s staff and at UAB. The disciplined Jaguars have suffered only nine turnovers all season and forced 23.
McGill-Toolen failed to make the playoffs last season. The third-ranked Yellow Jackets had advanced to the semifinals twice in 20 previous trips to the postseason, the last two years ago under current Spain Park defensive coordinator Bart Sessions. Sessions went 34-5 in three seasons with the Yellow Jackets before resigning in 2014. Caleb Ross, a Prattville graduate who was a Lions’ assistant with Sessions, was promoted to lead McGill-Toolen. He previously served as offensive coordinator at Spanish Fort where he helped the Toros win the 2012 Class 5A title. The Yellow Jackets have allowed only 10.5 points per game, after giving up 29.3 last year. The lone loss was to Blount in Week 5.
– Compiled by Paul Payne