Jasper defensive line takes pride in shutouts

Vikings have top defense in Class 5A

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 9/26/19

The game was out of hand.

With No. 1 Jasper leading Hayden by more than 50 points in the final minutes last Friday night all that remained was the postgame hand shakes — unless you are a member of the Jasper defense.

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Jasper defensive line takes pride in shutouts

Vikings have top defense in Class 5A

Posted

The game was out of hand.

With No. 1 Jasper leading Hayden by more than 50 points in the final minutes last Friday night all that remained was the postgame hand shakes — unless you are a member of the Jasper defense.

When you are going for a third straight shutout, there is no time to let up. As Hayden made one final push down the field, Jasper’s reserves put the streak on their shoulders and came up with the stop.

That’s when the sideline erupted.

“I was fired up when Hayden started driving the ball and the younger players were in. When they stopped them, we went crazy,” junior lineman Brodie Vinson said. “We take a lot of pride in the shutouts. That shows the hard work that we’ve put in.”

It’s not just the starters who have done their part in shutout wins over Dora (66-0), Corner (42-0) and Hayden (58-0). It’s a team-wide accomplishment — against Dora 26 different players made a tackle.

“We have trust in them,” senior lineman Aundra Reese said of the reserves. “They practice just like we practice.”

Jasper has recorded three straight shutouts for the first time since 1999.

The Vikings take that streak into tonight’s game against No. 2 ranked Central Clay County, last year’s Class 5A state champion.

The last Viking team to string together four straight shutouts was the 1957 team that opened the season with five shutouts and finished 10-0, winning the state championship.

“It’s really not a secret,” junior lineman Jaden Vance said of the defense’s success. “We just work hard. The defensive coaches have been on us to be more physical and control the line of scrimmage.”

Tonight’s game pits the top two scoring defenses in Class 5A. Jasper’s No. 1 scoring defense allows 4.8 points per game while Central Clay County gives up 8.3 points per game.

“We just play to our potential. We work hard at practice and it carries over to the field,” junior lineman E.J. Colbert said, adding that he’s enjoying this season after an injury in the opener sidelined him last year. “I missed a lot of last year because of injury, but I’m fine now. I’m just having a lot of fun with the guys. We’re tight — like brothers.”

The linemen admit, Central Clay County will present Jasper with its toughest test of the season. The Volunteers have lost just five region games since the school opened in 2012.

Jasper won last year’s game 10-7 — thanks in large part to four forced fumbles.

“We will have to match their physicality and intensity,” Vinson said. “They are good at running the ball and getting out on the edge. Their guards can pull really well.”

“It will take our best game,” Reese added.