Jackson rolls to 4-0

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Indians used physical play to control the game. ~ Southeast Missourian

When describing Jackson's football team this season it's hard not to sound like a broken record.

Jackson dominates the line of scrimmage. Jackson wins handily.

That formula was on display Friday night at Jackson with the Indians dominating Sikeston 28-8 in a matchup of SEMO North Division schools.

"As a kid that's what we watched, that's what we saw, running football," Jackson running back Austin Bock said. "Now we're finally getting back to that way and winning ball games."

The other part of old school Jackson football involves a dominating defense, something the Indians have lived up to in their 4-0 start. For the fourth straight game Jackson held its opponent to less than 100 yards rushing, and allowed only one big play, which came late in the game against its reserves.

"The defense is playing good," Bock said. "Ulrich in the middle, he's an animal. The defense as the whole is playing well."

Added coach Carl Gross, "Defensively we were pretty much in control all night."

Jackson took control of the game right from its opening drive. After holding Sikeston (0-4) to a three and out, Jackson went to work on the ground. Bock accounted for all 49 offensive yards on the drive, finishing it off with a 3-yard touchdown run. Jackson got 20 yards off Sikeston penalties.

"Our offensive line is playing great," Bock said. "They worked hard in the weight room and it's really paid off for them."

Bock lost a fumble late in the first quarter, but Sikeston could not get anything going on offense. Jackson's offense had little trouble moving down field once it got the ball back.

Jackson senior quarterback Joey Starke was the star of Jackson's next drive. Starke hooked up with tight end Brad Crader for a 43-yard pass to spark the Indians. Starke also completed passes of eight and 10 yards on the drive, and running back Jason Meystedt finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run.

"He's really handled the ship well," Gross said of Starke.

Starke was not done. After a 16-yard punt gave Jackson the ball at the Sikeston 38, Starke connected with Neil Grossheider for a 37-yard strike to the 1. Bock finished off the drive, putting Jackson ahead 21-0 at halftime.

Starke was 4-of-7 for 98 yards passing in the half.

"He's a leader. Joey has been outstanding this year," Bock said. "He's led our offense very well. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's very smart."

Jackson stayed on the ground for the majority of the second half, simply eating up the clock. Zach Brazer had the big play for the Indians on defense, forcing a fumble on a sack that was recovered by Blake Ulrich at the Sikeston 7. After a penalty, Meystedt scored from 11 yards out.

Sikeston's only points came on a 9-yard run from Acle Dixon with 2:55 left. Bryce Wibbenmeyer hit Felante Larry for a 52-yard pass to set up the score.

Bock led the Indians with 66 yards on the ground on 14 carries. Meystedt added 55 yards on nine carries. Dixon led Sikeston with 38 yards rushing.

While the Indians were in control the entire game, Gross said his team was still feeling the affects of the death of senior classmate Jason Schafer.

"We were flat. There's a good reason we were flat," Gross said. "They all lost a good friend."

The Indians know if they are going to run their winning streak to five it will take a better effort against visiting Jefferson City next Friday.

"We've got a humongous week ahead," Bock said. "If we're going to win, we have to pick the intensity up."

Added Gross, "I'm glad this one's over. I think we came out of it in pretty good shape in terms of injuries. We all need a weekend to rest for next week."

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