Jasper starts season ranked No. 3 in Class 5A

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 8/6/19

Jasper opens the 2019 season with its highest ranking in nine years.

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Jasper starts season ranked No. 3 in Class 5A


Jasper opens the 2019 season with its highest ranking in nine years.

The Vikings are the No. 3 team in Class 5A in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s rankings released Sunday night.

Jasper is coming off an 11-2 season that saw the Vikings win the 5A, Region 7 championship and reach the third round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade under coach Bryan Moore.

Though Jasper loses several vital players from 2018, including first-team All-State quarterback Michael Crear, the Vikings return plenty of talent and experience on both sides of the ball, including running back Kaden Shelton, who rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 scores last season, top receiver Xavier Waldrop (830 yards, 3 TDs) and linebackers Harrison Saunders (145 tackles) and Taris Rudolph (113 tackles).

Jasper also retained most of the coaching staff that helped the Vikings complete a turnaround season.

Briarwood Christian opens the season at No. 1 after a 9-3 campaign in 2018. The Lions totaled 233 points in the poll, along with four first-place votes. Briarwood is led by head coach Matthew Forrester, who takes over for Fred Yancey after a 29-year run at the school.

Ramsay received the most first-place votes (12), but is second with 221 points. Jasper is third with 206 points, followed by Madison Academy (143 points, one first-place vote), defending champion Central Clay County (139 points, seven first-place votes), Demopolis (134), Mortimer Jordan (127), Vigor (110), Etowah (61) and Russellville (44).

Jasper was last ranked as highly as No. 3 in 2010.

The last time Jasper opened the season ranked inside the top 5 was 2000 when the Vikings started at No. 2.