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Jackson football coach, offense have big success in debuts
BONNE TERRE, Mo. -- There was a new face on Jackson football Friday night at North County High School.
It was a smiling one at that.
The Indians shook off three seasons of frustration with a 639-yard blast of offense in the coaching debut of Brent Eckley.
The yards translated into the highest point total the Indians have compiled in more than four years and a 48-21 victory over the Raiders.
"It was a blast," said senior receiver Brannon Wright, who had four receptions for 145 yards and 186 yards of offense. "We got off to a slow start, but we got it together."
The slow start included a 64-yard touchdown run by North County junior Seth Nickles on the Raiders' third offensive play of the night and three first-half turnovers, but Jackson's new spread offense showed it was a force to be reckoned with all evening.
The Indians exploded for three touchdowns in the first four minutes of the second half to extend a 21-14 halftime lead to a 42-14.
Junior quarterback Ty Selsor threw touchdown passes on three of Jackson's first eight plays in the second half, including two to junior running back Colten Proffer.
"We've been training all summer for the new season," Proffer said. "We're going to get it back. It's what we've been talking about, and it's what's on our shirts that we wear and everything. We're going to get the Jackson tradition back. That's what we're working for, and that's what this game meant."
Proffer touched the ball just nine times in the game but amassed 210 yards and scored three touchdowns. He had 91 yards rushing -- all in the first half on five carries -- and 119 yards receiving on four catches.
"The spread offense lets us use more weapons," Proffer said. "We have a lot of weapons, so it shows it off. I like the spread a lot."
Selsor directed the no-huddle offense most of the game and also proved to be a double threat. He rushed 12 times for 67 yards and completed 9 of 14 passes for 308 yards.
"We got so many different plays," Selsor said. "We can go misdirection and can take it back the other way. It confuses the defense."
North County, which also runs a no-huddle spread offense, never looked comfortable against the Indians' offense.
Jackson marched 73 yards on nine plays for a touchdown on its first offensive possession and never really slowed down. The Indians did not punt and averaged 10.9 yards on its 56 plays.
"We hurt ourselves," Eckley said. "I don't think the defense affected us much. Not that they weren't playing hard and didn't have a good scheme and they coached their kids up, but we had some opportunities that we gave away. I think we could have got the game in hand a little bit sooner than we did."
Jackson committed turnovers on the three possessions after its opening touchdown.
North County gained its final lead midway through the second quarter after the third turnover, which came when Selsor and Proffer missed connections on a handoff at the Indians' 18.
The Raiders needed just two plays to score on an 8-yard run by Jacob Whitwell for a 14-7 advantage.
Jackson's offense needed less than two minutes to respond. Wright capped a quick, seven-play drive with an elusive tackle-breaking 23-yard run to tie the game.
The Indians forced North County to punt and regained possession with less than two minutes left in the half. Jackson gave a preview of things to come when it needed less than a minute to strike again. This time it covered 80 yards in three plays. Proffer broke loose on a 75-yard run on the second play for an apparent touchdown, but the Indians were whistled for a block to the back at the North County 5. Selsor scored from 15 yards out on the next play for a 21-14 lead.
Jackson had 331 yards of offense at halftime, including 234 yards rushing, but held just a seven-point lead.
"We kind of talked about it," Eckley said. "We didn't think we'd play another half that sloppy. We expected them to play better. We felt that we were the better team and had to get a little bit of confidence in them."
Jackson took the opening kickoff in the second half and needed just two plays to score when Proffer got behind the Raiders' safety down the middle for a 64-yard pass play.
The Indians forced North County to punt and struck again on a similar play to Wright. The 76-yard pass play put the Indians ahead 35-14 at the 9:46 mark of the third quarter.
"We had the pass open in the middle the first half and were just missing it every time," Selsor said. "We came out in the second half and executed."
An interception by Jordan Jeffers put the ball back in the offense's hands, and Selsor hit Proffer down the right sideline for a 27-yard scoring strike at the 8:16 mark.
"It's kind of what they gave us based formationally," Eckley said. "Then the second half they adjusted, and we were able to catch a couple things to get on top of them."
Selsor racked up 211 yards passing in the first four minutes of the half.
"I think we're pretty balanced running and passing," Wright said. "I think we're pretty good in both. We can surprise them either way. We did a pretty good job tonight attacking them when they were down."
Jackson ran its lead to 48-14 on a 5-yard run by Wright early in the fourth quarter.
"I think having the offseason we had paid off," Wright said. "It's worth it. Coming out and scoring those points and playing like we did, it just feels great."
North County has provided three of Jackson's six wins since the start of the 2010 season.
"They're a nice team," said North County coach Jeromy McDowell, a former quarterback at Southeast Missouri State. "They're well coached. They attack all sides of the field from all different ways. It's a good club."
NC -- Seth Nickles 64 run (Eric Thompson kick), 10:41
J -- Colten Proffer 2 run (Adam Brown kick), 7:51
NC -- Jacob Whitwell 8 run (Thompson kick), 7:18
J -- Brannon Wright 23 run (Brown kick), 5:21
J -- Ty Selsor 15 run (Brown kick), 1:28
J -- Proffer 64 pass from Selsor (Brown kick), 11:05
J -- Wright 76 pass from Selsor (Brown kick), 9:46
J -- Proffer 27 pass from Selsor (Brown kick), 8:16
J -- Wright 5 run (kick failed), 10:35
NC -- Nickles 9 run (Thompson kick), 5:56
RUSHING -- Jackson, Selsor 12-67, Proffer 5-91, Wright 7-41, Dante Vandeven 7-44, Taylor Henson 1-6, Garrett Miller 2-37, Jamont Stuckey 2-5, Xominique Davis 1-10, Ben Maudie 1-5, Luke Helwege 1-6; North County, Nickles 19-125, Wyatt Compton 11-90, Jacob Whitwell 3-11, Thompson 16-101, Tyler Curtis 3-6, Hunter Strange 1-5.
PASSING -- Jackson, Selsor 9-14-1-308, Vandeven 1-4-1-19; North County, Compton 7-18-2-49.
RECEIVING -- Jackson, Proffer 4-119, Wright 4-145, Henson 1-44, Skyler Steele 1-19; North County, Isaiah Smith 2-11, Jonathon Stabenow 2-12, Kaleb Warden 2-20, Whitwell 1-6.