SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the Spanish Fort Toros.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Toros, who are looking for a deep playoff run this upcoming season.

Spanish Fort went 6-2 in a tough Class 6A, Region 1 and earned the three seed in the playoffs. The Toros fell to Pike Road in the first round. Spanish Fort has reached the playoffs every year since 2008 and won a 6A blue map in 2015. They also captured three 5A state titles in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Head coach Chase Smith enters his second year at the helm. Smith told WKRG he has a solid group of seniors returning and spring practice has given his team an opportunity to get back to the basics.

The Toros are doing “skill development” over the traditional spring practices this season. Skill development does not involve helmets, pads or hitting, but allows coaches to work with athletes for two hours per week over several months. Schools opting for skill development can also start fall camp early.

“The kids have really honed in, really dug in and we’re getting maximum effort and development out here, which is what you want,” said Smith.

Smith says every kid on the roster is being evaluated during spring and they are going back to the fundamentals of football.

“Every player will be taken through offensive skill development, whether they are predominantly a defensive player,” added Smith. “Even our quarterbacks are learning how to properly tackle and learn how to pursue the ball the right way.”

Smith also says they are focusing on themselves.

“We’re building a culture of competition, our standard, our work ethic,” added Smith. “It’s been a great off season on leadership development.”

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 7-4
  • 41-38 win vs. St. Paul’s (playoff team)
  • 18-15 win vs. Daphne

Key players:

  • Cole McConathy II, DL
  • Bree Blackmon, OL
  • Blake Smith, ATH
  • Bishop Burkhalter, LB

McConathy, who has several power five offers, will anchor the Toros defense. He had 110 total tackles, 39 tackles-for-loss and 22 sacks. The three-star also had six forced fumbles and had one interception. Burkhalter will also be a big presence on the Toros defense after posting 127 tackles, eight sacks, seven forced fumbles and three interceptions as a sophomore.

“It’s always great getting better with the guys and working on winning some ball games in the fall,” said McConathy. “Personally I hope to improve my overall game awareness and situational awareness.”

Seniors Blackmon and Smith will provide veteran leadership on the offensive end.

“Really exciting, you know, this is a great time to develop, so I’m just excited to be here,” said Blackmon. “I want to improve my craft and just get better everyday.”

Blackmon added summer works will get “stressful” but noted “it’s all going to be great in the end.”

Key Matchups:

  • vs. Saraland — September 15
  • @ Theodore — September 22
  • @ Daphne — September 29

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Friday will feature the Baldwin County Tigers. Follow along WKRG’s “33 teams in 33 days” throughout the next five weeks. Each team will be featured during the 6:30 p.m. newscast on the weekdays and during the 10 p.m. newscast on the weekend.

Full “33 teams in 33 days” schedule: