The top-ranked Jasper Vikings’ campaign for a Class 5A state championship gets underway on Friday night when they host the Madison Academy Mustangs in the first round of the playoffs.
With an undefeated Region 7 campaign that saw the Vikings capture their second-consecutive first-place finish, Jasper prepared for the postseason with a 35-17 win over 2018 Class 4A state runner-up Deshler
, a performance that head coach Bryan Moore called a “much better performance” than the prior meeting between the two teams.
“I talked to the team about finishing — that was our word going into the game against Deshler. Last year we were sloppy against Deshler, this year we weren’t perfect, but for us to dominate the line of scrimmage and have 300 rushing yards was very good,” Moore said. “We were really engaged in the game and outside of two big runs, I thought we played well defensively. We still have some problems with penalties we have to clean up — which is the biggest issue we have right now on our team. But for us to come off of winning a region championship and play a good level against a non-region team shows that we focused on finishing.”
The Mustangs finished the season with a 5-5 record after their 2018 campaign saw a 10-2 finish and a 10-2 record.
Moore looks for a tough challenge against Madison Academy, which had a state championship-winning coach and a talented quarterback.
“Coach Bob Godsey won a state championship with Hartselle, so he knows how to win games. Both their quarterback and runningback can make plays, along with a quality receiver. They do play some kids both ways, though not as many as we’ve seen in the past few games,” Moore said. “Overall they have a really good team — I wasn’t excited to get that matchup to open round one. They were leading their region at one point and I thought they may eventually come out in first place, but it’s a very balanced region. We expected them to throw the ball more than we’ve seen in a while — they’ve got some youth along the offensive line, but their quarterback makes up for it with his size, coolness under pressure and scrambling ability. We’ll have our work cut out for us.
The full interview can be seen on the Daily Mountain Eagle’s YouTube channel
. The game will be broadcast on WJLX 101.5 F.M. at 7 P.M.