SARALAND, Ala. (WKRG) — Saraland is making its third trip to the Class 6A State Championship game under Jeff Kelly. The Spartans head coach is hoping this is the year they return home with the blue map. Saraland lost in the 2014 (Clay-Chalkville) and 2018 (Pinson Valley) Class 6A title games. Can a third time be a charm this Friday?
Kelly believes this group is playing its best football right now.
“We’ve had outstanding teams there and we played outstanding opponents,” said Kelly. “It’s just where we are and how we are playing right now offensively. We have been aggressive. That is just who we are. We put it out there and if it’s good enough great, if not we’ll get better.”
The Saraland offense has been tough to stop behind quarterback KJ Lacey, wide receiver Ryan Williams and running back Santae McWilliams Jr.. A trio of sophomore stars with playmaking ability well above their age.
“We definitely want to bring one back, be the first ones to bring it [a state championship] back,” said Lacey. “It’s been really fun the preparation and everything like that, so we are going to try to bring it back.”
“When we get another opportunity, we’ve got to go play ball,” said Williams. “So whenever we have the next opportunity, we play ball and that’s what helped us get to where we are.”
“We’ve had two big road playoff wins against excellent teams,” said Kelly. “You look at Hillcrest, 11-0 on the road in the second round and then Theodore, 13-0. We have been road warriors all year. We played eight or nine games on the road, only four regular season home games. Our kids are ready for the challenge I know we have a lot of youth, but they don’t play young.”
“This has been a great experience all year long with the guys,” said Saraland senior defensive end Jimmy Byrd. “Going out with a bang, I have 48 minutes of ball left so we’re going to make the best of it.”
Saraland will play Mountain Brook in the nightcap Friday, Dec. 2, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.