DORA — The Dora-Jasper rivalry takes a new twist tonight, with the two teams meeting to begin Class 5A, Region 7 play at Horace Roberts Stadium in Dora.The contest also comes with a number of …
DORA — The Dora-Jasper rivalry takes a new twist tonight, with the two teams meeting to begin Class 5A, Region 7 play at Horace Roberts Stadium in Dora.
The contest also comes with a number of compelling side stories to further intensify this year’s showdown.
Both Dora and Jasper enter the game coming off loss to rivals — with the Bulldogs losing in a shutout to Carbon Hill last week, while the Vikings fell to the Cullman Bearcats two weeks ago in their season opener.
For Jasper, there is also the lingering memory of last year’s game to conclude the season, where Dora routed the Vikings 30-7 at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field.
Focus at practice this week has not been an issue according to both coaches.
“In a game like this, the focus has to be on us, and that’s what we’ve gotten this week from our guys. We have to play the best game Jasper can play. I did show the team a few plays from last year’s game prior to practice on Monday — it was bad. There’s no way around it,” Jasper head coach Bryan Moore said. “A lot of our kids didn’t play in last year’s game — particularly our skill players, and the team was dealing with a lot of injuries at the time. But it’s very easy to get up for this game since it is part of a rivalry and it begins region play. Everyone wants to get off to a fast start — both teams want to get the first region win and obviously get an early leg-up towards the playoffs. This game will go a long way for both of those factors.”
Dora enters the game coming off a 16-0 loss to Carbon Hill.
“Last week’s loss to Carbon Hill was a wake-up call for us. This week, our players have to practice much more focused — they learned we’re not just going to be able to show up and automatically win a game, we’ve got to go out and execute. Practice has been much more crisp and cleaner,” Dora head coach Bart Lockhart said. “Our goal every week is to be 1-0 at the end of that week. Though last week was a tough loss for us, the silver lining is it doesn’t affect our overall goals of making the playoffs and being the best team we can be. Each game is the most important game of the year because it’s the next one and our guys have returned back to that mind set.”
Both coaching staffs have done in-depth study of the opposition on Friday night and have walked away with not only an appreciation for the talent and ability assembled across the field, but a firm grasp on the challenge at hand as well.
“From seeing Dora and watching their play, they’re very similar to us in our scheme. From a personnel standpoint to what they do both offensively and defensively, it’s almost like looking in a mirror,” Moore said. “What worries me the most is their team speed. They have a lot of skill players — most of whom are back from a very good team last year. Their quarterback is a two-year starter and defensively they’ve got a lot of kids who can run and play. They’re also in phenomenal shape — they can play 100 snaps a game. They have a great kicker on special teams, which we’ll have to match up with. We’ll have to tackle them when we get our hands on them because they run so well.”
“Jasper has good players everywhere. Michael Crear, their quarterback, is one of the best players in our area — he’s dynamic running and throwing the ball. Their defense really flies to the football,” Lockhart said. “They are a quality opponent in every aspect of their play and our game will be a good measuring stick as to where we are at as a program. We have to tackle much better and we also must break tackles more effectively. We’ve also got to have the mentality that we’re trying to score on every play, not just out there going through the motions.”
Crear was instrumental in Jasper’s season opener against Cullman, passing for 314 yards on 21 of 29 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions.
His top target was Cole Bonner with seven catches for 119 yards. The Vikings’ top rusher, Kaden Shelton, ran for 64 yards on 10 carries before leaving the game with an injury. Moore stated he will play in tonight’s game.
Dora has used a rotation of three running backs on offense — Ikei Hosea, John Collins and Marcell Davidson as their primary threat. Collins leads the group with 86 yards on 17 carries, with Davidson rushing for 79 yards on 16 carries and Hosea totaling 59 yards on 11 rushes with two touchdowns.
Jasper leads the overall series between the teams, 44-12.
The game will be broadcast live on WJLX 101.5 FM at 7 p.m.
Russellville at Corner
Following an impressive showing against arch rival Oak Grove last week, the Corner Yellow Jackets open Class 5A, Region 7 play tonight when they host the Russellville Golden Tigers at Corner.
Against Oak Grove, running back Garrett Purvis rushed for 162 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown, while Nick Brashear ran for 105 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns.
Six players scored touchdowns in the 56-14 rout, evening Corner’s record to 1-1 on the season.
Russellville opened the year with a 40-34 double-overtime win over Class 4A Deshler last week. The Golden Tigers went 3-7 last year.
The game will be broadcast live on mountaineagle.com and Country Legends WJBE 88.5 FM at 7 p.m.