Jackson holds on for 21-12 victory

Saturday, September 8, 2007
The Jackson sideline reacted to a turnover late in the first half that led to the Indians' first touchdown with under a minute to play. The touchdown put Jackson ahead 7-6 at halftime, and the Indians went on to a 21-12 victory. (Kit Doyle)

JACKSON -- Jackson's Tyler Martin positioned himself in his usual defensive stance with a lot of thoughts running through his mind with a little over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Friday.

Martin, a three-year starter for the Indians, said he was not only thinking about stopping the Parkway North offense, which was attempting to convert a two-point conversion that would have tied the score 14-14. He was also thinking about how tough it was to lose to the Vikings by four points last season.

"That was a disappointing loss last year because we were winning the whole game and then they just threw a jag across the middle and that was a real heartbreaker," said Martin, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound outside linebacker. "It was in my head the whole night. I was just glad we got another chance to play them."

Parkway North quarterback Blake Fincannon took the snap and handed it off to tailback Jacob McKinley, who ran a sweep to the left side. But it was there that he was met by Martin, who made the game-saving tackle.

"The tight end came out and tried to block me and then I saw the fullback pull, so I just knew I needed to get up there and get a hold of him," Martin said. "I just knew we needed to stop them or they were going to tie it and we couldn't afford a tie. So I just went as hard as I could and tackled him. It felt great."

Martin's tackle kept the Indians ahead by two points late in the contest. And from there the Jackson defense was able to hold on and its offense tacked on another touchdown as the Indians beat Parkway North 21-12.

With the home win, the Indians improve to 2-0 this season. Jackson coach Carl Gross was proud of the way Martin and the rest of his defense played against a Vikings offense that scored six touchdowns against Central last week.

"He makes huge plays all the time," Gross said of Martin. "But when you start looking at it, a bunch of guys made big plays."

The Indians' defense, which posted a shutout against Francis Howell Central last week, made some big plays when it counted as defensive back Jamie Schumacher and Drew Bucher also made nice plays to stop sweep plays.

However, the second most important defensive play for the Indians came in the third quarter on an interception by cornerback Matt Lang when the Parkway North offense was on the Jackson 31-yard line, facing a one-point deficit at 7-6.

"The coach said they were probably going to have a trick play, and I read my man and saw it was going to be a halfback pass, and I played the tight end, and luckily came out with it," Lang said. "Last year they did a couple trick plays on us and luckily we were ready for it this time."

On a second-and-10 play after the Lang interception, Jackson running back Adam Zweigart took a handoff 66 yards for a touchdown to give the Indians a 13-6 lead with 3:24 remaining in the third quarter. Lang kicked the extra point to make it 14-6.

About 11 minutes later, McKinley scored on a sweep to make it 14-12 and then Martin stuffed the two-point attempt.

Jackson tacked on a touchdown with 48 seconds remaining in the game when Andy Winkleblack took a handoff in the red zone and scored on a run straight up the middle.

Jackson hosts Vianney next Friday at 7 p.m.

"We said after last week's game that if our defense keeps playing like it did, we will win a lot of ballgames," Harris said. "Tonight that held true. Our offense did a little better tonight, but our defense played really strong."

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