After the way Austin started Friday night, the Black Bears didn’t want their game with Spain Park to come down to a defensive stand. But when the time came, Austin delivered.
The Black Bears raced to a 24-point first-half lead, then held off a furious Spain Park rally to upset the Class 6A No. 5-ranked Jaguars 37-24 at Ogle Stadium.
“I’m proud of the way our guys fought,” Austin coach Jeremy Perkins said. “We played great in the first half. Spain Park played great in the second half. We fought through success and we fought through adversity, which is something we’ve been talking about from day one; how to fight. And we did the big thing we’ve talked since the offseason: We finished the game.”
The third touchdown pass of the night from Spain Park quarterback Nick Mullens got the Jaguars to within three (27-24) with 9:34 left in the game. But Austin answered with a 16-play, 87-yard drive capped by a Philip Corlew 22-yard field goal with 2:26 remaining.
The Black Bears defense then forced Spain Park into a 4th-and-eight situation from its own 35 with 1:36 left. Austin got pressure on Mullens and forced an incomplete pass, and two plays later Josh Walker scored on a 37-yard run, his third rushing TD of the game.
Walker carried 25 times for 197 yards and added scoring runs of 69 yards and 1 yard, the second of which gave Austin a 27-3 lead with 3:06 left before halftime. Chris Sparkman completed 24 of 31 passes for 264 yards and touchdown connections with Malique Elliott (52 yards down the sideline) and Walker (68-yard catch-and-run).
“Our run was working; we weren’t really making a lot of mistakes,” Walker said. “We were blocking on the line and they opened up a lot of big holes for me to run through.”
Mullens had a touchdown pass just before halftime and on the Jaguars’ opening possession of the second half to make it 26-17.
Austin plays Decatur on Friday at Ogle Stadium.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
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