Jasper hosts Corner in first home game

Ki-Ro Gambrell Field turf gets an overhaul

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 9/14/18

Six schools in Class 5A haven’t played a home football game going into the fourth week of the season.

Jasper will be marked off that list after tonight’s game.

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Jasper hosts Corner in first home game

Ki-Ro Gambrell Field turf gets an overhaul

Posted

Six schools in Class 5A haven’t played a home football game going into the fourth week of the season.

Jasper will be marked off that list after tonight’s game.

The Vikings’ first home game comes against region foe Corner at 7 p.m. today from Ki-Ro Gambrell Field. This is the first meeting between the teams since 1949 — a 26-0 Viking victory.

The game will be broadcast on WJLX Oldies 101.5 FM radio.

After playing at Cullman in the season opener, Jasper had a bye week before facing Dora on the road in the region opener last week.

“That was a weird deal. The cool thing now is that five of the next eight games are at home. We are going to be home a lot these next two months,” first-year Jasper head coach Bryan Moore said. “We only have three more road games.”

Jasper dropped its opener to Cullman, with the Bearcats scoring the winning touchdown with four seconds on the clock. The Vikings bounced back last week with a 26-13 win over Dora.

“It’s been one of those things where you go on the road, you battle and you figure out how to win,” Moore said. “Now we come home and get back settled in our comfort zone. We don’t have to get on a bus and travel. It’s just really nice to be home.”

Though the turf at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field may not look any different tonight, there has been extensive time and energy put into preparing the field for the season opener.

Moore noticed the field had drainage problems when he first arrived in January.

“It was basically under water. It looked like a swamp,” Moore said. “In the offseason we are able to throw with a select number of guys a couple of days a week, and we never were able to do that on the field — not one time. We had a rainy winter, but it wasn’t draining. It would need seven straight days, literally, with no rain to dry out, and we never got that. So it’s really better than I ever thought it would be at this point.”

Both Jasper city workers and Gameday Athletic Surfaces — the group that worked on the turf at Regions Field in Birmingham — put time into getting the field into game-ready condition.

“We brought in people that know what they are doing and the field recovered. It’s not perfect, but it’s playable. They put six loads of sand on it, which made it really like a beach. People were concerned about it, but it grew and the sand allowed water to drain through,” Moore said.

Moore, who came to Jasper after serving as the head coach at Eufaula for three years, said it’s apparent the drainage issue reached a breaking point last year.

“When I watched film from last year, in all five home games the field was wet. I could tell people were slipping. In Eufaula we didn’t have that much rain. I asked the guys, ‘Did it rain that much?’ They said 'No, the field just holds water.' If you are slipping and sliding around, that’s dangerous. It was a major issue. It becomes a safety hazard for kids.

“We will still have an offseason where we are probably going to have to pull it up and replace it, whether we got turf or natural grass. This is sort of a band-aid what we did, but it will get us through the year,” he added.