Sure, the Jasper football team fell to 0-4 with last week’s 51-34 loss at Lockwood, but take a look at the positives.
Jasper’s 34 points were as many as the Eagles had scored in their first three games combined. Last season, Jasper scored a total of 48 points the entire year.
The Eagles also rushed for 274 yards and averaged more than eight yards per carry. It was the fewest rushes in a game this season for the Eagles, and the most yards.
“We had a good offensive game,” head coach Rich Adkins said. “Our offensive line played better. We didn’t miss as many blocks and as many assignments so we were able to do some good things. Jordan Adams at running back ran really, really hard all night. He broke a few tackles and was very good.”
Adams carried the ball 16 times at Lockwood for 184 yards, an average of 11.5 yards per carry. Jasper also passed for 75 yards.
“We had some big passes in the first half that kept drives alive on third down,” Adkins said. “Our third down pass protection was a lot better, as well.”
But as Jasper turns the corner, the schedule doesn’t do the Eagles any favors. Jasper travels to undefeated Sarcoxie this week, and the Bears just won at Pierce City a week ago.
Sarcoxie has rushed for 1,596 yards as a team this season, an average of 7.3 yards per carry. Logan Jones has tallied 647 yards on the ground, Jade Bloss has picked up 361 and Ryder Cox has totaled 347 yards. That running attack will pose a challenge for the Eagles.
“They do a great job,” Adkins said. “It’s one formation and they’re coming at you. They do a great job. Their offensive line comes off the ball really low and really fast and they do a good job staying on blocks. The running backs and quarterback run hard and they’re tough to bring down. They get lots of yards after contact. They’re feeling good and they’re playing really well so they’re going to be tough to deal with Friday night, no doubt about it.”
Defensively, Adkins expects to see a lot of physical play from the Bears, and he said Sarcoxie has done a good job on that side of the ball, too.
“Their linebackers are coming forward and making plays,” he said. “They get good run support out of their secondary guys and their safeties and defensive linemen. A lot of their defensive linemen really do a good job of taking on blocks, taking up space and making it difficult for us to get any offensive linemen up onto their linebackers. They’re real solid everywhere. They’re going to be tough to compete with. They’re having a great season and coach Rader’s doing a great job over there.”
Page 2 of 2 - But even with undefeated Sarcoxie looming on Friday, the Eagles are feeling better about the season after last week’s showing against Lockwood. Cut down on some mistakes, Adkins said, and Jasper will be a lot tougher.
“I think they’re feeling confident and they’re feeling like if they continue to work hard good things will happen because they’re seeing improvement each week,” he said. “Really, when it comes down to it we’re still making the mistakes to lose the game. We just needed a couple stops to slow it down last week and we couldn’t get them. We just cut down our mistakes and we’ll be better.”