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Vikings’ Bailey: Langley, Samuel among most improved players



With their final full week of practice before next Friday’s season opener with Mars Hill, the Jasper Vikings have been hard at work learning plays and honing their skills for the upcoming season.

Head coach Philip Bailey said his team still has a long way to go before playing a top-quality team such as Mars Hill, but sees continual progress every day.

“We’re definitely closer today than we were yesterday and last week.  Hopefully by next Friday night we’ll be there, but we are seeing the guys get better,” Bailey said. “I thought today we had more enthusiasm about coming out here and practicing. We’re getting there, but we sure aren’t there yet.”

Other notes from Tuesday’s weekly preseason brief:

— Bailey noted the work of Colin Langley and Kevon Samuel among two of the most improved players since last season’s finale against Bessemer City. “Colin started all 10 games for us last year as a sophomore — from the player he was last year to the player he is now has shown a great level of improvement. He also wrestled last year, which I think helped him a lot. He has grown-up and matured, and worked his way into being a fine football player for us. I’m excited to see what his junior season holds,” Bailey said. “Kevon has also come a long way and worked himself into being a great player. He’s always been talented — you don’t have to watch him long to see that. But the way he runs routes and his understanding of the offense has shown a significant level of improvement.”

— Bailey expressed his appreciation of the community and their support through the Vikings’ recent two events: the Jasper High School Football Program Blood Drive and the Jasper Viking Football Kickoff and Dinner. “There’s no way I can say enough about this community and our supporters. Jasper’s a special place, I’ve said that all along — it’s a special place because of special people. I’ve been in enough communities to know that they’re not all like this one,” Bailey said. “We’re blessed to have the support that we do here from so many wonderful people. Last Saturday night we had around 250 people at the Dinner and auctioned off some really great items. Eli Gold was a tremendous speaker and everybody had such a great time. I’m just so thankful for this community and the way they’ve embraced me, my family and this program. We’re very humbled by it.”