Auburn, Ala.—McAdory was undefeated heading into the 5A title game Thursday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but it was Spanish Fort’s night to shine as quarterback Joel Poe threw for 177 yards and three touchdowns to earn MVP honors in a 45-14 victory. It was the second title for the Toros in three years and Poe said this team just fought its way to a championship this season.
“It means a lot to this program and all the seniors that are graduating this year,” Poe said. “After the 2010 win you sit there and look at all the guys gone like Reese Dismukes and you know there’s going to take a lot to pick up the slack. It took us a year, but everyone worked really hard and the coaches did a great job.”
On the ground Samuel Tolbert ran for 100 yards and a touchdown to lead the Spanish Fort running game, but defensively is where the Toros shined. Led by talented cornerback and Nebraska commitment Jonathan Cook, Spanish Fort’s defense held McAdory to just 187 yards of total offense in the win.
It was that defense that ruled the early portion of Thursday night’s 5A title game until Spanish Fort’s offense finally got going late in the first quarter. Taking over on their own 38-yard line, the Toros used some crisp passing from Poe to move right down the field. Twice Poe connected on third down to keep the drive alive before facing a third and 16 from the 18-yard line. Lofting a perfect pass into the endzone, Poe’s throw was snatched out of the air by Devonte Patrick for the touchdown and the early 7-0 Spanish Fort lead.
With the defense dominating McAdory, Spanish Fort went back to work on offense. Taking over on the 30, the Toros got a 15-yard run from Poe to move the ball out to near midfield. Autrey then ripped off a run of 18 yards to put Spanish Fort in scoring position once again. Facing a third and two from the McAdory 20 later in the drive, he bounced left and raced for the corner of the endzone for the score.
Trailing 14-0, McAdory finally got the offense going late in the first half following a Robert Cooks interception at the Spanish Fort 35. Using seven plays, the Yellow Jackets got a one-yard run from Kyran Moore for the touchdown with just over two minutes left in the first half. Cutting the lead down to one score at the break, McAdory had the momentum going into the second half, but it would be all Spanish Fort on the way to its second title in three years.
A short field goal started the scoring for the Toros in the second half with just 5:21 left in the third quarter, but it opened the flood gates as they tacked on two more touchdowns before the fourth quarter arrived. The first game on a Tolbert 29-yard run with Cook adding a 25-yard touchdown catch for a 31-7 lead going to the fourth quarter.
From there it was coasting to the finish line on the way to a 45-14 win as Patrick added his second touchdown catch of the night, this one from 21 yards out, before Poe added a 10-yard scoring run of his own. McAdory tacked on a late score on a 47-yard Jonathan Witherspoon pass, but it was far too little and too late for the Yellow Jackets.