Three weeks into the 2012 high school season, the Jasper football team stands at 0-3 after falling to Pierce City, McAuley Catholic and Greenfield.
Head coach Rich Adkins is still placing the emphasis on the same areas for improvement, primarily the offensive line. When that group reaches its potential, Adkins expects to see the results, especially in the win column.
"It's the same things we've been trying to emphasize all year," Adkins said Wednesday. "We've been trying to work with our offensive line and getting off the ball faster and lower. We're still playing with too high of a pad level right now and that's killing us up front. We're concentrating on trying to win the battle up front on Fridays. We see improvement from time to time, but we take a couple steps forward and maybe one back. We're getting there."
The Eagles lost 21-6 against Greenfield last week as Jasper completed four of 18 passes for 25 yards and rushed for 92 yards. Jordan Adams accounted for 62 of those yards on the ground in 15 carries, bringing his season total to 212 yards, and he was one of the highlights for Adkins, who was also impressed with Austin Gloodt.
"Last week I thought Jordan Adams did a good job carrying the ball for us," Adkins said. "Austin Gloodt plays guard and inside linebacker and had a heck of a game at linebacker, and at guard, for that matter. He did a really good job. Last week was just tough. We played well on defense, we just made a couple more mistakes than they did. We had a couple good performances last week."
Gloodt made five solo tackles against Greenfield, and has eight total tackles on the season, while Landon Osborne leads the team with 16 and Adams has 14.
This week, the Eagles must make the trip to Lockwood to face a team currently 1-3. Lockwood fell 20-14 at Greenfield in week one, beat Rich Hill 35-7 in week two, and lost 33-20 at Sarcoxie last week. That victory by the Bears snapped Lockwood's 15-year winning streak against Sarcoxie.
"Really they've just had some tough breaks," Adkins said of Lockwood. "They could probably be 3-0 right now just as easy as 1-2. Week one against Greenfield was similar to our game last week against Greenfield. They did a few things to give it away a little bit, but they're still a good team."
The primary challenge for the Eagles defensively will be containing Lockwood's quarterback.
"He's a really good player," Adkins said. "He runs the ball real well. He's a big, physical kid, and he throws it well, too. He'll be tough to contain all ngiht long and we'll have to deal with that."
Lockwood lines up primarily in the I formation, and sometimes with split backs.
Page 2 of 2 - "Just your basic pro formation," Adkins said. "We're not expecting them to spread it all over the field. They really just like to run it and keep it in the hands of their quarterback. If we can corral him and tackle him we have a decent chance."
"Up front, their defensive line looks pretty good," Adkins said of the Lockwood defense. "That's probably going to give us some fits this week too. We've got plenty on our plate, I would say."
Another big key will be that battle up front.
"Up front we need to win," he said. "We have high expectations for our guys up front and we need to start living up to them. We expected this to be a strength of our team. If they are and if they dominate on Friday night, I think we have a good chance."