By Mike Moore File Photo By Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports
Jackson— The first week came and went, and the Jackson football team was 0-1.
That was 2016, when a loss in the season opener gave way to five wins in the final eight games, and a season ending one win shy of a playoff berth.
Scott Farley and his group isn’t about to look backwards, but, as the Vikings prep to move forward with 2017, there’s one resounding theme heading into Friday night’s tilt at Marshall.
“We want to get off on the right foot,” Farley said. “It’ so important, especially when you look at the conference we are in and the games we have coming up. With a young team, getting some momentum is going to be key.”
Separated only by a quick drive down I-94, Jackson and Marshall have never played before.
The Vikings finished 2016 with a 5-4 record and have brought back a whole stable of starters.
Marshall was 4-5 last year, and seemed to define close losses.
The Redhawks final four setbacks of the season came by a combined 18 points.
“I’m anxious to see what we have right now,” Farley said. “We have a lot of talent, and a lot of guys in the skilled spot who are juniors on the offensive side of the ball. At the same time, most of our line are seniors, which is something you want.”
And something Farley has never had.
In my 25 years of coaching, I’ve never brought back an entire line from the year before,” he laughed. “It’s a great problem to have this season.”
Senior Lance Taylor returns to start at quarterback, while juniors Exziar Edwards and Micah
Cretsinger will see a majority of the carries in the backfield.
“Marshall will try to slow things down against us,” Farley said. “With that said, when we have the ball early on, we have to find ways to score.”
Defensively, Jackson is much like it’s offense, with a host of starters back, an abundance of speed and athleticism, and bulky, veteran line.
“We have some gritty, tough kids up front, which should help our linebackers,” Farley said. “A lot of our defense will be built on speed and flying around.”
Like many teams and coaches, Farley and Jackson will stress taking things one game at a time.
But the coach also has some lofty goals for his 2017 group.
“Jackson hasn’t won a football conference since 1942,” he said. “It’s our last year in this league. How great would it be to go out on top?”
The beginning to that answer may come Friday night.
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports.
He’s also a Real Estate agent with Real Estate One, specializing with buyers and sellers throughout Michigan, from the Jackson area to metro Detroit. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries.