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Vikings keep attention front and center heading into battle with winless Okemos


 By Mike Moore

Staff Writer


Jackson – The tendency may not be acceptable, but human nature has a way of pushing through from time to time.


A team on the upswing facing one that has yet to win.


A result all but guaranteed.


That’s the exact mindset Scott Farley is looking to avoid as his Jackson High football team makes Friday night’s trip to Okemos.


“We’re going to focus on ourselves,” the Vikings’ coach said earlier this week. “Truthfully, we’re not good enough to worry about what any other team is going through. We’re focused on our level of improvement.”


In other words, human tendencies be damned.


After bursting out of the gates with back-to-back wins to start the season — and surpass 2014’s win total — the Vikings fell 28-21 to East Lansing, beat Lansing Sexton 35-34, and then dropped a 35-16 battle with Grand Ledge last weekend.


The team’s 3-2 record equals the number of wins the program had from 2012-2014, and traveling to take on a winless Okemos team presents a glorious opportunity to pull a step closer to the first playoff berth since 2009.


But it won’t be easy unless some key things are corrected, Farley cautioned.


“The big issue for us the past few weeks has been scoring in the red zone and not turning the ball over,” he explained.


Three times against Sexton, Jackson went to the red zone, and came away without a point.


Last week, the guys in orange and black made it there four times in the first half, but came away with nine total points.


Filter in some untimely turnovers, and there are plenty of reasons for the 1-2 skid the past three weeks.


But winning cures all ills, and Okemos is a team struggling with just about everything right now.


The Chieftains have an offense that’s totaled 15 points the past two weeks, and just 75 all season. Meanwhile the defense is surrendering some 40.6 points per game


“They work very, very hard at stopping the run,” Farley said. “They play a run-heavy style of defense. We’re going to have to throw the ball a little more successfully than we have. And we have to use our speed to get outside. On offense, they seem to be struggling to find an identity, but they do have some speed.”


Essentially, this is one right there for the Vikings’ taking, a chance to go to 4-2 and make the final three weeks really count.


“We understand it’s a game where we feel we can win, if we play as we are capable,” Farley said. “That’s the challenge, playing like we are capable.”

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