Words by Al Blanton | Cutcliffe photos courtesy Duke Athletics, Reeves photo by Justin Hunter
David Cutcliffe, a former SEC Coach of the Year who served as the head coach at Ole Miss from 1999 to 2004 and at Duke from 2008 to 2021, is scheduled to speak at the Jasper Viking Football Kickoff Banquet and Auction on Saturday, August 5 at the Jasper Civic Center. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m.
“There’s nothing like high school football in the state of Alabama, particularly because of the way it impacts communities,” Cutcliffe said. “I cannot be more excited to come to Jasper to speak at the kickoff banquet on August 5.”
Cutcliffe’s address will be part of an evening that will include a live and silent auction, food, and the introduction of new head football coach David Reeves. Proceeds from the event will go to benefit Jasper Viking Football.
“The kickoff banquet is definitely an event we look forward to each year,” said Jasper High School Athletic Director Jonathan Jordan. “It’s not only one of the biggest fundraisers for our football program, but it’s also a night where our team can connect with the community.”
A 40-year veteran of the football coaching profession, Cutcliffe helped develop quarterbacks Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning while serving as an assistant at the University of Tennessee. At Ole Miss, he coached another member of the Manning quarterback family, Eli Manning, who led the Rebels to a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State in 2003. Cutcliffe currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Football Relations for the Southeastern Conference.
The Vikings open their season on September 1 at home against Cullman. Initially, the team was scheduled to open the 2023 season at Manchester High School (GA), but the game was cancelled by Manchester. After scrambling to find a tenth opponent, the Jasper High School Athletic Department announced last week that a game against the Sidney Lanier Poets will be scheduled for Friday, September 29. The Vikes will also travel to Corner on Friday, August 25 for a Jamboree game against the Corner Yellow Jackets.
Returning impact players for the Vikings include running back Micah Pledger, wide receiver Titus Waldrop, defensive lineman Braxton Houston, running back Garrett Busby, and defensive lineman JoJo Odom. The Vikings were 5-6 last season.
Reeves arrives in Jasper after serving as the defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). Prior to UAB, Reeves had stints at Jacksonville State, UT-Martin, Southern Arkansas, and Alabama. He began his coaching career at Cornersville High (TN), and later coached at Bob Jones and Athens High School.
“So far, our time in Jasper has been incredible,” Reeves said. “We are getting to know the players, but we are also getting to know the community. In the few months I’ve been the head coach, I’ve felt an embrace by the people of Jasper. That means a lot as you are beginning a new venture, and I can’t wait to get this football season started.”
To keep up with Jasper Viking Football, please connect on Facebook at “Jasper Viking Football” or on Twitter @JasperVikes_FB.