Jackson football team works out jitters at jamboree

Sunday, August 19, 2012
Jackson's Jamont Stuckey returns an interception against Fox during Friday's jamboree in Hillsboro, Mo. (ADAM VOGLER)

HILLSBORO, Mo. -- The first pass sailed incomplete and the second landed in the hands of a Fox defender.

That's why Jackson sophomore quarterback Dante Vandeven appreciated Friday's jamboree.

"First time being out there, it is very different and scary," Vandeven said. "But at the end of the night, it was all easy and comfortable."

Vandeven finished with three incompletions and the interception against the Fox defense.

"First time on the big field, first time playing," he said. "Definitely different."

Jackson quarterback Dante Vandeven throws a pass against Fox during Friday's jamboree.

But his play improved and his passes became more precise later in the jamboree against De Smet and Parkway North. He completed both attempts for 20 yards against De Smet and hit two of his three passes for 16 yards against Parkway North.

"It's more chemistry than I thought in the beginning," Vandeven said about his relationship with his receivers. "It's clockwork. You have to know where the ball's going to be, so you've just got to throw it right in the spot and trust my receiver to catch it."

Vandeven split time evenly with junior Ty Selsor, who played some quarterback last season. Each player ran three plays before switching.

"It's kind of weird because you can't get a rhythm," Selsor said.

But that's been first-year coach Brent Eckley's style since practice started.

Jackson coach Brent Eckley talks to his team after Friday's jamboree in Hillsboro, Mo. (ADAM VOGLER)

"We're just rolling two guys, and both of them can help us win," Eckley said.

Selsor finished 4 of 6 passing for 26 yards. He also scored Jackson's lone touchdown of the evening on a 5-yard run against De Smet.

"Our O-line did real good up front," Selsor said. "I mean they've been working hard all summer, and it paid off for them tonight."

The two quarterbacks combined to miss their first five attempts, but Eckley attributed part of that to the jamboree setup, including limited space to warm up.

"They settled in," he said. "I think a lot of it was just getting jitters out. They did a nice job. They settled in and threw the ball a lot better down the stretch. We were pretty solid after that."

Jackson quarterback Ty Selsor drags a De Smet defender into the end zone for a touchdown Friday.

Jackson's offense experienced the most success against De Smet, which lost to Saint Louis University High 47-46 in a Class 6 state quarterfinal last season. The Indians used 10 plays to score their lone touchdown of the night. Selsor and Vandeven both completed two passes during the drive.

Jackson's defense did not allow Fox to get inside the 30-yard line during the Warriors' 12 plays. Each team starts at the defense's 40-yard line and can pick up first downs on its way to the end zone. If there's a turnover or the offensive team fails to pick up a first down, the ball goes back to the 40-yard line. Each team runs 12 offensive plays.

The biggest plays Jackson allowed to the Fox offense were a pair of 6-yard runs. And junior Jamont Stuckey intercepted a Fox pass.

"Our defense has improved a lot this summer and got a lot stronger," Selsor said.

De Smet and Parkway North both scored a touchdown during their 12 offensive plays, but the Indians only allowed two plays all night that went for more than 10 yards. Selsor added an interception against De Smet.

"Our scheme is not a whole lot different than what it's been," Eckley said about the defense. "I thought our kids rallied to the ball well. I thought our defensive line played well at times."

Jackson did turn over the ball three times, which frustrated Eckley. Two of the turnovers were fumbles during Jackson's final 12 plays, which came against Parkway North.

"Those are things I think we can clean up," Eckley said. "Part of it is technique. We'll keep working on it."

The Indians open the Eckley era Friday when they travel to North County. Jackson rallied to defeat host North County 14-7 last season.

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