Glimpse at Jackson football team gets mixed reviews

Sunday, August 22, 2010
Jackson coach Van Hitt, hands on knees, and his assistants get a unique vantage point during Friday's jamboree scrimmage against Farmington in Farmington, Mo. (Kristin Eberts)

FARMINGTON, Mo. -- Friday night's jamboree left Jackson football coach Van Hitt with mixed emotions.

On the one hand, Hitt liked the effort and energy the Indians brought to the artificial surface at Farmington High School.

On the other hand, Hitt knows his inexperienced Indians have so much they need to improve on as they try to bounce back from last year's 1-9 record.

The latter point was apparent during the four-team scrimmage that featured 12 plays for each squad, starting from either the opponents' 35 or 40 yard lines.

Jackson was outscored 5-2 in touchdowns and outgained roughly 200-90 in total yardage while going up against Seckman, Union and Farmington.

Jackson senior running back Ethan Ruch outruns Seckman defenders during Friday's jamboree in Farmington, Mo.

"We had great effort, but we made some mental mistakes," Hitt said. "We had a lot of inexperience on the field tonight. We don't have many starters back.

"The mistakes we made were because of inexperience. We'll get better. It's a work in progress. We've only had two weeks of practice."

Senior tailback Ethan Ruch, who scored one of Jackson's touchdowns, echoed Hitt's thoughts.

"We had some positives I thought. We still have a long way to go, but we're improving," Ruch said.

Jackson got off to a rough start as Seckman needed just six plays to put up two touchdowns against Jackson's defense.

Speedy tailback Tyler Fisher, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last year, scored both Seckman touchdowns from more than 15 yards out.

But the Indians allowed Seckman no net yards over its final six plays.

"It was a tough start, but I think we got the butterflies out once we started moving the ball," Ruch said.

The Indians put up a touchdown against Seckman as Ruch scored on a 10-yard run. Ruch also hauled in a 30-yard screen pass from senior quarterback Bobby Clark against the Jaguars.

Jackson and Union both scored one touchdown against each other, the Indians reaching the end zone on a 10-yard pass from Clark to junior Kyle Fields.

The Indians had less success against host Farmington. The Knights blitzed Jackson for two touchdowns and about 85 yards while holding the Indians to about five net yards in their 12 plays.

"We went up against some pretty good teams," Ruch said.

Clark completed 4 of 9 passes for 61 yards. He hit three of his first four attempts before being stymied against Farmington.

Ruch rushed for 37 yards on 12 carries and caught two passes for 43 yards. Junior Trent Sizemore added two receptions for 21 yards.

Defensively, Fields and senior J.T. Payne recorded sacks.

"The first time to get out here and hit somebody else, it was good," Ruch said.

Hitt thought the same thing.

"This film will be very valuable. It's a teaching process," Hitt said.

What happened Friday doesn't count on Jackson's record. That will change starting Saturday when the Indians open the season at O'Fallon Christian.

"We're not ready to play yet. Hopefully we will be by next Saturday," Hitt said.

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