Jasper bounces back

Vikings win home opener in rout

By JAMES PHILLIPS, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/1/17

The Jasper Vikings picked up their first win of the season Friday night in their home opener for 2017 with a 35-7 victory over Hueytown at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field.

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Jasper bounces back

Vikings win home opener in rout

Posted

The Jasper Vikings picked up their first win of the season Friday night in their home opener for 2017 with a 35-7 victory over Hueytown at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field.

After giving up 47 points in their season-opening loss to Austin, the Vikings’ (1-1) defense stepped up against Hueytown by giving up only 79 yards in the game, 57 on the ground and 22 through the air.

“I’m proud of the way that our team responded tonight,” Jasper head coach Heath Brunner said. “While Austin is a great team, I didn’t feel that we competed well last week. We came out this week and concentrated on our team getting tougher and becoming more physical.

“Hats off to our defense tonight,” Brunner continued. “They played hard all night and did a great job of getting to the football.”

While the Jasper defense held the Golden Gophers in check for most of the game, the Vikings’ offense picked up the pace, finishing with 394 total yards with a good balance between run and pass. Junior quarterback Michael Crear carried much of the offensive load, leading the team with 88 yards on 21 carries on the ground and throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 8-of-13 passing. Junior wide out Cole Bonner also had a strong performance with 116 yards and two touchdowns on three catches.

“We felt like our passing attack was an area where we could beat them (Hueytown) if we were able to make a few big plays when we needed them,” Brunner said. “Crear did a good job of being poised tonight and made those throws when we called on him to do it.”

Jasper opened the scoring when Crear connected with Bonner on a 73-yard touchdown after only three minutes had ticked off the clock. The Vikings held a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.

Crear struck again early in the second quarter, connecting on a 36-yard touchdown pass to Kiandre Gosha to increase the Jasper lead to 13-0. Late in the second quarter, Vikings defensive lineman Seth Davidson took down the Hueytown punter in the end zone for a safety to give Jasper a 15-0 lead at the half.

Jasper opened the second half with a nine-play drive that took four minutes off the clock, capped by a 32-yard touchdown strike from Crear to Bonner. The extra point by Jacob Studdard pushed the Vikings’ lead to 22-0, which is what it would remain through three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Jasper pushed its lead to 35-0 after a 32-yard touchdown run by Ken Holiday and a 13-yard touchdown run by Dylan Norris. Hueytown added a late touchdown on the Vikings’ second-string defense to cut the final deficit to 35-7.

Jasper will open region play in Week 3 when it hosts Clay-Chalkville, one of the top-ranked teams in the state, in a Class 6A, Region 6 matchup.

“We made a lot of improvement tonight, but we still have a lot more improvement ahead of us,” Brunner said. “Clay-Chalkville is coming in here next week and they are considered one of the best teams. We are going to have to work hard this week to prepare for that big game right here on our home field.”