The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 24, 2013

Four SRVC teams battle in jamboree

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— Lining up against three conference opponents during Friday night’s jamboree gave Jasper head coach Rich Adkins a chance to measure the Eagles’ progress with a week to go before their season opener against Pierce City.

Jasper’s offensive backfield of quarterback Logan Johnston and running backs Payton Smith and Matt Stump won the approval of their head coach.

“Offensively, I like the way our guys in the backfield are performing,” Adkins said. “They’re back from last year, so they’re comfortable with our system. We have some guys up front who had their first varsity experience, so we have some things to work on.

“Payton and Matt had a lot of carries last year and they’re the starters this year,” he said. “They were also starters on defense last year, so they’re experienced and I think they have a lot of confidence.”

The jamboree, held at Jasper, included Spring River Valley Conference opponents Diamond, Liberal and Sarcoxie.

The most serious incident occurred late in the jamboree when Jasper senior lineman James Willet was taken to the emergency room.

“We found out this morning that everything is good, so they sent him home,” Adkins said. “He’s still sore. It was internal around his stomach, but they checked him out and he seems fine.”

Sarcoxie head coach Luke Rader said his team accomplished its most important objective.

“We came out of it healthy, which was the biggest thing,” he said. “We looked a little sloppy at times. Probably like most teams in the state of Missouri, we’ll have nine guys do things correctly and two guys where we need to be on the same page.”

Diamond head coach Jimmy Dushane said he was impressed by the Bears’ performance.

“Sarcoxie looked good offensively and defensively from what we could tell,” Dushane said. “They had some success running the ball against us, and we had some success running the ball against them. We moved the ball against Jasper, and they moved the ball against us. The conference race is going to be a real barnburner.”

Dushane said the jamboree was an opportunity for Diamond’s starters as well as reserve players to get some playing time.

“We need to be a little crisper and sharper, but for the most part we executed fairly well,” he said. “Right now, our defense is little ahead of our offense.”

Liberal head coach Jason Ramirez said the jamboree was a confidence builder for his team.

“It gave our guys some confidence when we scored twice,” Ramirez said of scoring runs by Levi Littlefield. “They’re starting to believe they can get out there and make plays and have success.

“On defense, we had four takeaways. Our defense started to get with it as the night went on. The nerves were gone. We need to make some adjustments on defense, move some guys around and get some of our offensive guys off the field when we’re on defense.”

Heat and humidity were a factor, and the National Weather Service in Springfield expects similar conditions to prevail throughout this week.

“I think that will be a concern for both teams,” said Rader, whose 28-man Sarcoxie squad will face McAuley Catholic on Friday at Missouri Southern. “Depth is a concern for both teams. We need to make sure the kids stay hydrated all week, not just Friday.”