Behind every great football team is a great Booster Club. Jasper will indeed have both for the 2005 football campaign.
The boosters had their kickoff meeting this past week and had a full house much to the pleasure of all that attended.
Taking the role of president was Randy McCoy. McCoy let it be known that their goal was to create a better environment for his son Justin and his teammates. Joining McCoy on the board of directors will be Greg Taylor as the Vice President, Treasurer Sylvia Cone and Secretary Cloreetta Singletary.
One of the special speakers on the opening night of the boosters was new head coach Corey Green. Those that had not met Coach Green were overwhelmed by his enthusiasm. He made it clear that the workouts for the football team to this point were totally not mandatory, but has had great turnouts thus far on the field and in the weight room. The weight room has really paid off for the Trojans early. Most of the guys already look to have gained about eight pounds each in just a short span.
Coach Green was asked about his plan of attack on the field this year. According to Green, the new offense will involve short passes that will be opened up by the run. The defense will have a new look also and will be flexible depending on the opponents preference of offense.
Green plans to give a summary after each game to the parents. He made a plea for support of his team. He let the Boosters know that the equipment for the football team has been centralized which is making it possible for his athletes to get home 35-40 minutes earlier which gives more time to studies which Green places a lot of emphasis on. The new equipment that has been ordered includes cleats, new pants that look good since he uses the philosophy that a team that looks good will play good and with pride and confidence. New helmets have also been ordered. He did remind the Boosters that there was a lot of work to be done and still more new equipment needed, and that it would take time to get everything in place.
Coach Green is very proud of the accomplishments of the Trojans to this point. They are gaining weight and treating their bodies right. He did ask for the parents help with hydration. He made it a point to remind everybody that it is not necessarily what you put in your body the night before a game as much as how the body has been taken care of at the beginning of the week. Dehydration is a major problem and the athletes need to consume as much liquid as possible during the week in preparation for Friday nights.
The Trojans will take to the practice field on Aug. 1 with a shorts workout, while Aug. 4 will see the players in their first pads workout.
Coach Green has implemented new special teams, and has set his sights on conditioning to get his players stronger. He believes in the four quarters philosophy of playing hard.
The full core of coaches has not been established as of yet, but is being worked on with the goal of being in place by Aug 1.
The Trojans are equipped to suit 55 players. Coach Green plans on making openings for players deciding to play after the school year begins to give every student a chance. Grades will be a player at some point as Coach Green again committed to the classroom as a priority. He plans to be laid back on late comers to a degree, but will not bring those down in the process that are already there.
When asked about a junior varsity team, Green fully intends to field at least a 24 player roster.
The Trojans plan on throwing the ball around 30% of the time out of the wing T formation. There will be some "I" formations to offset the defenses and power and will use a lot of mis-direction.
The defense plans to use a 5-3 set with a standard two defensive ends and a middle safety.
Coach Green was asked how he thought the team would fare. Naturally, Green stated that he could not answer that question. He did know that there would be two top ten opponents on the schedule with Trinity ranked fourth in the state while Episcopal is getting attention for top ten recognition. Coach Green did say, however, that the team is working very hard as a unit and that he is very impressed to this point.
McCoy took the floor to ask the Boosters to find ways for the community to get more active in the football season. He felt that the players need to know that the town and Boosters are behind them. Thus far, the businesses have all provided sponsorship.
Several fund-raising ideas were passed around between attending members. It was noted that Glen Richards would be a corporate sponsor for the Trojans this year.
McCoy asked for commitment from the community and to set up programs to promote the kids to colleges by taking advantage of available contacts. He feels Jasper can build their football team by promoting them. He also suggested a tutoring system to be put in place to help athletes on the borderline.
Principal Starr made a request of the Boosters to focus on the exposure of the kids. The community as a whole is a loving and giving community. He wants the Jasper image to be changed that has occurred on the fields and classroom. He challenged the coaches to step up. The FCAT scores showed more improvement this year at Jasper which is a move in the right direction. Salaries have been raised to bring in great teachers, and Jasper has already hired what they believe is an outstanding football coach.
The Trojans are wanting the town to get behind them and display the red and black on Fridays and have faculty and supporters wearing the colors in support. The players will play with pride and respect if they hear and see the spirit.
Larue Lieupo also added her support of the Boosters and let the club know that many division one coaches have agreed to come to Jasper and give motivational speeches. She also urged more fund-raisers to be able to send many more Trojans to camps.
The excitement and commitment of the team and the boosters was demonstrated by a story Coach Green told the attending members. There were two middle school athletes that actually walked a good distance to the school to learn the plays and work in the weight room. The players are doing their part with commitment, and it appears the Boosters are certainly committing from their end. Both are working as a unit.
Folks in Jasper have a very special group of young men ready to go to battle in support of Trojan pride. Jasper has a hard working group of folks in the Boosters ready to charge into the 2005 season.
The first test for Jasper will be Aug. 18 in Mayo with the varsity playing the first half and the junior varsity taking the field for the second half.
Aug. 18, the highway leads right into Mayo. Take the trip to Mayo and take part in a very special and memorable season at Jasper. See ya there!
Reporter's note: This particular sports writer has had a great time over the past week attending a camp at FSU with the players, the honor of having several conversations with Jasper's new coach, meeting the team, the parents, and even spent some time with the recreation level which saw a group of volunteers from the football team.