Woods — the Vikings' man in the middle

By W. BRIAN HALE Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 10/18/18

Kicking off the 2017 season, Micah Woods entered the year as an undersized six-foot, 222-pound nosetackle — one of several Viking defensive players who came up short in matchups against stronger …

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Woods — the Vikings' man in the middle

Posted

Kicking off the 2017 season, Micah Woods entered the year as an undersized six-foot, 222-pound nosetackle — one of several Viking defensive players who came up short in matchups against stronger and heavier offensive linemen.

With a mindset geared toward change, Woods and his fellow defenders went to work in the weightroom during the offseason and in the summer — intent on gaining the strength and size necessary to augment the skills and experience gained under the new coaching staff.

The resulting change has been outstanding from seven games into the 2017 season to seven games into the 2018 season.

At the seven-game point in 2017, the Vikings had surrendered 219 points at nearly 22 points per game. At the same seven-game point in 2018, the defense has effectively halved the surrendered point total of just 107 points on the season at 15 points a game. Statistically, Jasper has allowed more 250 total yards in three games — Hayden, West Point and Lawrence County — all of which the Vikings won by three touchdowns or more.

The improvements made not only defensively but in the team as a whole has been a pleasure for Woods, a senior, to experience after back-to-back losing seasons during his sophomore and junior years.

“We’ve worked hard to turn things around — a change like we’ve had doesn’t come by just changing a step in your technique or adding an extra five pounds on the weight bar. It has taken a concerted effort in every part of the team to make this kind of turn around,” Woods said. 

“It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked during my time in high school. Our coaches have been motivating and pushing me as a player and as an individual to continue to improve on and off the field, as well as to help my teammates to be the best we want to be.”

Opponents have found running up the middle and between the tackles a much more difficult task this season than in previous years — a testament to the efforts of Woods and his fellows defenders.

“I tell the guys around me every day that I feel that we’re the best defensive line in the state — that comes from the work ethic that we all share to become the unit we are,” Woods said. “We all came into this year knowing it was going to be a process, through hard days in the weightroom and summer camps to the daily grind of practices. We work out every day before practice and our coaches make sure staying as strong mentally as we are physically — the way we work has been the main difference in our year.”