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Playoffs can be clinched, but Farley and Vikings have just one thing in mind

By Mike Moore

Staff Writer

Jackson – It’s been a long, long time — too long in fact.

And that’s certainly not lost on Scott Farley as the Jackson High football coach preps his team for Friday night’s tilt with Holt High.

Win, and they’re in.

Win, and a streak of missing the playoffs that dates back to 2009 comes to a crashing halt.

Yet, as Farley talked about the one-win-from-the-playoffs landscape the Vikings currently reside in, he said the focus isn’t on what could be in Week 10, but instead, what has to be right now.

“We’re not focused on playoffs, we’re focused on finding a way to beat Holt,” the Vikings sideline general said simply.

And truthfully, that’s plenty enough to think about.

A perennial power the better part of 13 years, Holt stumbled in 2014, going 3-6 and missing the playoffs for just the fourth time since 2000.

But the Rams have rebounded nicely to the tune of a 5-2 record this year, and a five-game winning streak entering Friday night.

“Defensively we have to stand up to their power running game,” Farley said. “They have a big offensive line. They have a solid tailback. They are going to want to pound it at us. We have to make them do something else.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Farley said his guys must find ways to draw out possessions, bleed game clock, and then find the end zone.

“Running the ball is our strength, and we have to do that,” he said. “But at the same time, we know we can’t be too one dimensional. We’re going to have to throw the ball when needed. We don’t want them loading up the box on us.”

Jackson (5-2) has had the offense working of late, getting 37 points against Okemos two weeks ago, and then taking care of business last week with a 56-0 victory against Lansing Eastern.

But Holt is no Okemos or Eastern.

During their five-game win streak, the Rams are averaging 32.8 points per game, while giving up just 17.

Needless to say, Jackson will need its best game of the season.

And should the Vikings find a way, should a team that’s gone 7-38 since the 6-4 finish in 2009, earn that sixth win and earn a berth to the postseason, then Farley will enjoy it.

“That would be something to hang our hat on a little bit,” he said. “But we’re worried about the process of getting their right now.”

And that starts Friday night.

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