Jasper Football on a mission for 2019
The Jasper Bulldogs are primed for a state title run in 2019 as the regional semifinalist from last season return heavy artillery for the upcoming season. A big part of their talent base starts with returning district MVP Montavion Hunt (1,514 yards, 20 TDs rushing) who could be the best player in southeast Texas.
"We think we have a chance to be really good," said Bulldog head coach Darrell Barbay.
"Athletically I think we're about as good as anyone, our challenge will be to keep our focus. As a staff we have to be focused and our kids will have to keep their focus."
The Bulldogs were upended in the third round of the playoffs by a West Orange-Stark team (14-21) they had previously beaten earlier in the season (34-24). The loss ended a season where Jasper had gone undefeated in district play and were rolling as a team.
This fall brings a new attitude with 17 returning starters, many who play both ways such as outstanding DT/RB Brashuan Hubbard. The athletic Hubbard led the team in tackles (72) and scored six touchdowns.
"Brashuan is one of the most dominant D-Lineman in the area," said Barbay, entering his eight season at Jasper and 20th overall as a head coach.
"He is a force. He's strong, he's fast, he's athletic and he plays extremely hard. As the season progressed last year, we started bringing him in at running back because every time he touched the ball he scored."
Brashuan will be coming back from ankle surgery and will be looked upon as a main leader for Jasper to have a title run.
"He dislocated his ankle in week 12 and if he's healthy the entire year he will be a dominant force," said Barbay.
The Bulldogs are ranked as the top 4A Division 2 team in every major publication in Texas and with that brings notoriety and attention. Confidence can also lead to pressure.
"At the end of the day, you still have to go out and play," said Barbay.
"We're going to get the best effort from everyone on our schedule. If we want to go deep into the season we have to get better as the season develops."
The Bulldogs have never won a state title, but did play in the 2004 3A state title game where they lost to Gilmer 49-47.
PODCAST: Jasper Head Coach Darrell Barbay