New name, same schedule

Jasper takes on six playoff teams in ’17

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 7/23/17

Every football team needs a breather on the schedule.

At the college level, even powerhouse Alabama has a scrub thrown into the mix at some point — this year it’s Mercer.

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New name, same schedule

Jasper takes on six playoff teams in ’17

Posted

Every football team needs a breather on the schedule.

At the college level, even powerhouse Alabama has a scrub thrown into the mix at some point — this year it’s Mercer.

While the same holds true for most high school programs, there are no breathers at the higher classifications.

Just ask the Jasper Vikings.

Playing their first year as Jasper High School, the Vikings play the same daunting schedule they faced last year, including six teams that went to the playoffs, and only three teams that had a losing record.

Coach Heath Brunner’s Vikings are coming off a four-win season in 2016, the school’s lowest win total since 2006.

Jasper opens the season at Austin High School in Decatur on Friday, Aug. 25. The Vikings earned a narrow 14-10 win over Austin at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field last year.

The teams went in oppositive directions from there with Jasper winning three games the rest of the way and Austin finishing 10-4 and advancing to the state semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Ramsay.

Austin, which has won 10 games each of the last two seasons, features four-star running back prospect Asa Martin.

Jasper plays its home opener in Week 2 against Hueytown (8-3 in 2016), which is led by former Walker defensive coordinator Scott Mansell. He led Hueytown to the playoffs for the first time in 2016. The Golden Gophers defeated the Vikings 24-16 last year.

The Vikings open 6A, Region 6 play in Week 3 with a home game against Clay-Chalkville (6-5).

The Cougars, who were ranked No. 1 at the time of last year’s game, picked up a lopsided 36-14 win over Walker in 2016. The game was the first meeting between the teams since 1999.

After an off week, Jasper hits the road to Pinson Valley (8-4) in Week 5. The Indians are under new head coach Patrick Nix. The former Auburn quarterback also brings his son Bo, a four-star quarterback prospect, with him from Scottsboro. Pinson Valley won last year’s game over the Vikings, 25-14.

A non-region game against Northridge (3-7) follows in Week 6. Jasper picked up a 41-17 blowout win over the Jaguars last year.

The Vikings host Center Point (0-10) in Week 7 in another region matchup. The Eagles had their worst season in school history in 2016, going winless for the first time. Center Point is 2-28 over the last three years. The Vikings picked up their lone region win over the Eagles last year, winning 27-12.

Jasper travels to Gardendale (8-4) in Week 8. The Rockets, who finished second in the region standings, earned a 35-28 win over the Vikings last year. The Rockets are 26-12 over the last three years.

Carver (5-5) makes the trip to Jasper in Week 9. The Rams held the Vikings to just six points last year, their lowest total of the season, in a 22-6 victory. Carver has gone 5-5 each of the last two seasons following 11 consecutive losing campaigns.

Jasper closes out region play at Minor (11-2) in Week 10. The Tigers scored 631 points last season, the highest total in Class 6A. Minor, the eventual region champion last year, battled back from a 42-20 halftime deficit for a 60-42 victory over the Vikings.

The Vikings host county rival Dora in the regular-season finale. Jasper won last year’s game 55-7, the first meeting between the teams since 2011.