Note: This sports Q&A appears in the Wednesday, Nov. 6 newspaper on Page B4.
JACKSON — Much of the success of Jackson football has been relying on a physical, yet deep running attack.
With a stable of backs and a tough offensive line, the Ironmen have plowed through their competition to their first 10-0 season since 2014.
At the forefront of the Ironmen’s offense has been senior running back Jayden Spires, who has been nothing short of spectacular as he’s racked up 1,175 yards and 18 touchdowns on 156 carries this season.
Before leading the Ironmen into their playoff game against Centennial, the Courier caught up with Spires to talk about playing with his brother, Evan, going 10-0, the playoffs and much more.
Question: Coming into your final season, what were some of your goals and have you been able to achieve them?
Spires: I wanted to get over 1,000 yards, that was the main goal I had this season. I was reaching for 20 touchdowns. I haven’t cracked that mark just yet, but I’m pretty happy with where I sit. We’re 10-0 heading into the playoffs so there’s nothing to be upset about.
Q: You’re not the only Spires on the team. While you’re playing offense, you brother, Evan, is playing defense and he’s had quite the year as he racked up six interceptions and returned four of them for touchdowns. What is like playing alongside him? Are there any competitions between you two?
S: I absolutely love it. It’s great playing along with my brother, it really sucks that he’s out and can’t play right now due to injury, but hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon. We hype each other up a lot and show each other a lot of support. No competitions or anything between us, we just support one another.
Q: What was the moment this season you realized that you guys really had something special?
S: When we played against Wheelersburg and finally beat them, I think that was the moment everything sort of clicked. That’s our rival, everyone wants to beat them. That was the first team goal of the year and once we checked that off the list, then we realized that we have what it takes to finish the season 10-0. That game gave us the most momentum this year.
Q: Speaking of going 10-0, what was that feeling like after beating Chillicothe and realizing you guys officially achieved perfection?
S: That was the best feeling ever, especially for us seniors who wanted to finish undefeated. All the work we put in during the offseason, summer and preseason all paid off in that moment and it was unbelievable. I couldn’t be more happy for the guys and thankful to be a part of this team.
Q: What has it been like playing for Coach (Andy) Hall, and how has he helped you on and off the field?
S: I love Coach Hall, he’s a great coach who puts guys in positions to succeed. He’s taught me a lot of things that I never knew or thought of about life through the game of football. He’s been great about helping me out what colleges and setting me up with the right people to talk to. I couldn’t be any happier to play for him.
Q: The senior group set out to achieve something special by going undefeated and you guys accomplished that. What has so special about this senior class?
S: There’s a lot of leadership throughout us seniors, and I think we’ve done a good job of teaching a lot to the underclassmen who have really stepped up this season. We try to leave everything out on the field and give 100 percent effort at all times. We want to leave on a high note and be remembered as the group that accomplished something special.
Q: Your time as an Ironmen is coming to an end soon, what are most proud of? And what are your expectations for the playoffs?
S: Going 10-0 and beating Wheelersburg are definitely the top two things on the list. We knew we had the talent, it was just a matter of going out and proving it to ourselves. It’s always been one game at a time, and that’s how we’ll continue to approach everything. Hopefully we’ll do what we’ve done all season, and go on a long playoff run. The main goal is just to go 1-0 until it’s all over.