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Bailey: Practice this year a “world of difference”

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Jasper Vikings head coach Philip Bailey reported that preseason practice is going well on Tuesday as his team prepares for the season opener against defending Class 1A state champion Mars Hill on Aug. 20.

“I think we’ve made some good strides, really in the past month, as far as coming together as a team. We as coaches have turned the heat up on the players in practice, but we’re getting better,” Bailey said. “I told our guys after practice today that we’re on the right track and doing things in a more correct manner. That being said, we’ve still got a lot more work we have to do and a long way to go. Three weeks from Friday we play a game at home against a very good football team. But I like the track we’re on currently.

Notes from Bailey’s Tuesday practice update:

— Bailey stated himself, the coaching staff and the players are very thankful for the sense of normalcy being felt during the preseason as opposed to last year, where COVID restrictions and mandates disrupted the flow of the regimented practices. “It’s a world of difference. Football was the first sport to return to normal activity after the shutdown and we faced so much adversity adapting to the new regulations themselves. Team settings were limited, we could only have so many players working together in a group, the guys couldn’t dress in the locker room — it was about as abnormal as you could get. This summer has been a return to normalcy and I pray to God it stays that way and everyone stays healthy, but we’re certainly thankful to go back to a much more traditional way of doing things. If the shutdown taught us anything, it’s to not take any of this for granted.”

— On Saturday the Jasper High School Football Program Blood Drive will take place from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the school cafeteria. “We still have spots available and anyone interested in donating can go to www.americanredcross.org and type in either Jasper High School or the zip code for the blood drive to pop up, then the times that are available will pop up. We’d love to have everyone who can to come out. It’s something we love to do, which is give back to our community, and there’s such a need for it right now. Hospitals are at such a shortage for blood. I was telling the team earlier today that they could spend thirty minutes and give a pint of blood and end up saving someone’s life. I don’t know too many causes that are better than that. We’d love to have everyone out who can make it.”