Perfect Rams look to clinch SEMO South

Friday, October 15, 2004

Running back Matt Schaefer has led Scott City to a 6-0 record.

By Jeremy Joffray ~ Southeast Missourian

Scott City senior running back Matt Schaefer may not look like your typical all-state back at 5-foot-5 and 150 pounds.

But after wrapping up his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season after only six games and helping his team double its win total from last year, that just may be how Schaefer's high school football career comes to a close.

"Whatever comes my way I'm fortunate to get it," Schaefer said.

Added Rams coach Terry Flannigan: "He's really worked hard to get where he's at."

With three straight 200-yard performances, Schaefer is at 1,024 yards this season. Schaefer rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season.

"I've fulfilled my expectations greatly," Schaefer said of his play through six games. "I didn't think I'd be here where I am right now at this point of the season."

Those yards have played a key part in sparking a renaissance in Scott City football. The Rams are undefeated at 6-0, and enter their last non-district game tonight at home against Hayti ranked No. 9 in Class 2 in the latest state poll. A win would give the Rams the SEMO South Division title outright, while a loss would put Scott City and Hayti in a tie for first.

"We don't want to be co-champions, we want to be conference champs period," Flannigan said.

What Schaefer lacks in size he makes up for in an elusiveness which allows him to gain extra yardage after first contact. With his ability to make people miss, Schaefer gives the Rams a big-play threat each time he has the ball in his hands.

Flannigan said there have been very few times Schaefer has been brought down in a one-on-one situation.

"He's probably had three solid hits on him," Flannigan said.

Those big-play abilities have led Schaefer to find the end zone 10 times in the past two games. While a run at the school single-season rushing record is likely out of reach, the scoring record may be something Schaefer could put his name on. Through six games Schaefer has 109 points, with the record held by Britt Mirgaux at 188.

Schaefer certainly credits a good deal of his success to the strong line play. Despite having a fairly inexperienced group, Scott City's line has been able to establish the run week in and week out.

"They've done a great job, them and my lead blockers," Schaefer said.

Another 200-yard game would put Schaefer near his 1,244 yards from last season and likely help the Rams equal their highest win total since 2000. Scott City is seeking its first win over Hayti since 1999.

"Our team is doing great so far," Schaefer said. "We're way ahead of where I'd thought we'd be, having a new coach and everything."

Jackson goes for SEMO North crown

After crushing rival Central 35-6 at Jackson last week, the Indians will look to lay claim to the SEMO North Division Crown with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Poplar Bluff.

Last year, Jackson, Poplar Bluff and Central all shared the conference title. Jackson (5-1) already dispatched of Sikeston earlier this season, while the Mules (2-4) will face Central and Sikeston in district play.

"This is a big game," Jackson coach Carl Gross said. "Poplar Bluff and Jackson have developed quite a rivalry over the last several years and it's another big game because it's our next game."

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