Jackson faces toughest test to perfect mark

Friday, October 1, 2004

Jackson football coach Carl Gross thought his team was a little flat in a victory against Sikeston last Friday following an emotional week for the team and the school.

The Indians will not have that luxury tonight if they want to improve to 5-0. Jefferson City travels to Jackson for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"We've had more emotion in practice this week and more urgency," Gross said. "They understand they have a pretty big task in front of them."

The Blue Jays bring a 3-1 record to Jackson after dispatching SEMO North Division member Poplar Bluff 28-7 last Friday. Jackson, which has won its four games in rather easy fashion against opponents with a combined 4-12 record, should be in for its first real test of the season.

"Jeff City's an awful good football team," Gross said.

Jackson will use try to use its combination of strong running and stifling defense to remain undefeated. The Indians' running back duo, Jason Meystedt and Austin Bock, once again picked up yards in chunks for the offense in a win over Sikeston. Meystedt had 55 yards on just nine carries, while Bock added 66 on 14 carries. Meystedt and Bock are both averaging more than five yards per carry for the season.

The Indians' defense was again dominant, holding its fourth straight opponent to fewer than 100 yards rushing. That run defense will be put to the test against Jefferson City, which uses an option offense. Jason Davis led the Jays with 126 yards rushing on 13 carries against Poplar Bluff.

Gross said his team's strong start should give the players an added boost coming into a difficult game.

"We should have some confidence. Hopefully, because of our start we'll expect good things to happen, not bad things," Gross said.

Another boost should come from playing at home. With crosstown rival Central playing Thursday, the Indians likely will draw a large crowd for the showdown.

"We love playing at home," Gross said. "The big thing is we're not going to have that four-hour bus ride."

Scott City also eyes 5-0

The area's other undefeated team, 4-0 Scott City, will face an easier task tonight against the winless Chaffee Red Devils on homecoming night in Scott City.

While the two towns may only be separated by a small stretch of highway, the two teams are worlds apart this season.

Chaffee is 0-4 and has lost 18 straight heading into tonight. Coming off a season-high 14 points against Portageville, Chaffee may have trouble finding the end zone against a Scott City defense which has allowed seven points or fewer its last three games.

Rams coach Terry Flannigan said his team better be ready to play.

"Chaffee's looking to get their first win, and any time they can come in here and beat Scott City that's a big win for them," he said.

The Rams are riding high with a new coach and rising confidence. Scott City's offense has moved the ball well with the running of Matt Schaefer and the athletic play of quarterback Mark Johnston. Schaefer is coming off a 225-yard rushing game and has rushed for more than 100 yards in all four games. Johnston added 60 yards rushing last week and has been one of the most effective passers in the area.

"We were pleased with the outcome," Flannigan said of last week's win at Brentwood. "We did some things as a team we need to do to show we're making progress."

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