Preview of Week #7: #3 Saraland Spartans vs. St. Paul’s Saints


#3 Saraland Spartans ( 7-0 ; 5-0 ) vs. St. Paul’s Saints ( 4-2 ; 3-1 )

Only four weeks remain in the 2018 season, which means every region game is important. None more than this week’s 6A Region 1 matchup between the undefeated Saraland Spartans and the St. Paul’s Saints. Saraland looks to remain on top and fighting for the region championship, while St. Paul’s is coming off their 1st region loss of the season and don’t want to fall any further.

Jeff Kelly is in his 8th year as head coach of the Spartans and having one of the best starts in team history. His team is currently undefeated on the season and sitting atop of the region with only three region games left. His offense is led by first year starter, junior quarterback Brett Nezat. He is leading an offense loaded with weapons, that is averaging 39.9 points per game. The Spartans have a trio of running backs at their disposal with junior Rashawn McAlpine and seniors Jalen Pugh and Karie White. On the outside, they have receivers like seniors Jay Williams and Daniel Taylor along with senior Cordale Flott who plays defensive back as well. The defense is one of the best in 6A as they are only giving up 6.6 points per game. Junior linebacker Jonathan Chaney and senior defensive back Jayden Roberson have help lead a defense that has pitched three shutouts on the season.

Steve Mask will look to rebound quickly after the 22-0 loss to Spanish Fort last week. The Saints will have an even tougher task in facing the Spartans. The offense will need to see major improvements as they are only averaging 14 points per game this season. They have been shut out twice now on the season and only had 144 total yards against Spanish Fort. St. Paul’s offense is led by junior running back Jordan Ingram who only had 64 yards on 17 carries against the Toros. Improvement in the passing game will be key as well, J Greene only completed 7 passes for 125 yards. Junior receiver Kenny Brown had the longest reception of 26 yards last week. The strength of the team this year has been the defense which is only giving up 8.8 points a game. The 22 points given up to the Toros was a season high for the Saints. The defense is led by junior safety Reggie Bracy, but he did leave last week’s game in the 1st half and never returned. With Bracy is the other safety, senior Yates Grehan and senior linebacker Lance Chavers.

These two teams have only met once back in 2013 in the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs. Saraland won that contest 20-14 in double overtime. Now these two teams are in the same region for the first time and both are looking to improve their playoff spots, kickoff is set for Friday at 7pm on UTV44.