Local high school football preview capsules for Week 4

Friday, September 14, 2012

Poplar Bluff (2-1) at Jackson (3-0)

Last week: Central 35, Poplar Bluff 14; Jackson 34, Farmington 15

Last year: Poplar Bluff 45, Jackson 27

Outlook: The Indians are 3-0 under first-year coach Brent Eckley heading into tonight's game, having surpassed their win total from last season's 2-8 campaign.

Jackson is averaging 41.7 points through three games and is only two points shy of last year's total points production.

Junior quarterback Ty Selsor has been highly effective directing the Indians' newly adopted no-huddle, spread offense, proving to be a threat both running and passing. He has completed 67 percent of his throws (31 of 46) for 721 yards. He's also the Indians' second-leading rusher with 194 yards. He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

The Indians also are balanced as a team. They average 479 yards offense a game -- 252 passing and 227 rushing.

"We're trying to focus more on finishing drives," Eckley said. "We had some good drives started on Saturday and didn't finish them, and it cost us two or three touchdowns."

Junior Colten Proffer leads the team in rushing with 272 yards and averages 8 yards per carry. He's second on the team with 172 yards receiving on nine catches.

Senior speedster Brannon Wright leads the receivers with 416 yards on 14 catches. He has scored a team-high seven touchdowns -- four receiving and three rushing.

The Indians also have been stout defensively. They've only allowed seven first-half points over the last two games.

The Indians have accumulated 11 sacks on the season, led by junior defensive lineman Garrett Koch with three.

Junior linebacker Garrett Miller leads the defense with 40 tackles. Senior defensive back Jack Rushin is second with 25.

Jackson excelled on special teams last week as senior Damien Cook returned his first two kickoffs of the season for 116 yards.

Poplar Bluff suffered its first loss last week against Central after wins against Union and Dexter.

Eckley said the Mules have a balanced attack but lean toward the run a bit.

The Mules average 272 yards of offense per game, including 169 rushing and 102 passing.

Cornelius Timothy leads the Mules with 195 yards rushing on 45 carries. Quarterback Kortez Ellis has 141 yards rushing on 35 carries.

Ellis has completed 18 of 34 passes, with Kimbrayl Miller his top target with five catches for 114 yards.

"Defensively they have good size up front inside," Eckley said. "They have pretty good depth. Not too many kids start both ways."

Central (2-1) at Ft. Zumwalt East (2-1)

Last week: Central 35, Poplar Bluff 14; Francis Howell 14, Ft. Zumwalt East 0

Last year: Did not play

Outlook: The Tigers will make a trip of more than two hours to St. Peters, Mo., to play Ft. Zumwalt East, a Class 5 school, for the first time.

It will be the Lions' first game against a school other than from the Francis Howell School District.

The Lions are coming off their first loss after defeating Francis Howell Central 34-20 and Francis Howell North 42-20. According to stltoday.com, Fort Zumwalt East was held to 55 yards rushing on 34 attempts against unbeaten Francis Howell, a Class 6 school, last week.

Central coach Nathan Norman said Ft. Zumwalt East has good size and good overall speed, and he wasn't being fooled by the Lions' lack of success against Francis Howell.

"Francis Howell is very good. They have a good defense," Norman said. The Lions are relying heavily on sophomore quarterback Shane Barett in their spread offense. He had 24 of the 34 rush attempts against Francis Howell, netting just 17 yards. He also completed 9 of 28 passes for 107 yards. Pierce Roberts had three receptions for 59 yards.

Barett was effective carrying the ball in the first two games. He has carried 63 times for a team-high 306 yards. The Lions do not have a receiver with more than 100 yards on the season.

"He's either going to run it or throw it," Norman said about Barett.

Central has a potent running game that has been picking up yards in chunks. Tigers senior Chris Martin took the team lead in that department with a 12-carry, 179-yard performance against Poplar Bluff last week. Martin has 290 yards on the season and averages 8.3 yards per carry.

"He's kind of developed into our leading back -- our featured back," said Norman, who is trying to play Martin less on defense to preserve him for a bigger role on offense. "He's done a good job."

Senior Jacob Campbell is second with 209 yards rushing and averages 8 yards per carry.

The Tigers average 259 yards rushing and 74 yards passing. They did top 100 yards passing in a game for the first time last week.

Central junior center/linebacker Scottie Thomas again is questionable after missing the last two games with a strained hip flexor.

Portageville (3-0) at Chaffee (1-2)

Last week: Portageville 22, Malden 13; Hayti 34, Chaffee 8

Last year: Chaffee 47, Portageville 30

Outlook: Chaffee will try to end a two-game losing streak against an improved and unbeaten Portageville squad.

The Red Devils have struggled to find their offensive form since scoring 36 points in their season opener. The Devils have been plagued by injuries to key offensive members and have scored just eight points in each of their last two games.

Peyton Montgomery returned to direct the Red Devils offense after missing Week 2 for medical reasons. Montgomery completed just 11 of 30 passes for 93 yards after making a splash in Week 1 by completing 19 of 24 passes for 342 yards. He has thrown six interceptions, including two against Hayti.

Montgomery completed eight of his first 14 passes last week but was just 2 of 16 in the second half, which coincided with the loss of leading receiver Layton Tenkhoff, who injured a shoulder right before halftime. Tenkhoff, who leads the team with 13 catches for 209 yards, will miss tonight's game.

Junior Devon Yahn is second with 11 receptions, while junior Jimmy Golden is second with 131 yards receiving.

Chaffee averages 232 yards of offense per game but only 61 comes on the ground.

The Red Devils, who graduated a 1,000-yard rusher Tyson Estes last spring, have struggled to run, averaging 1.84 yards on 100 rush attempts. Their 73 pass plays have accumulated 514 yards, which is more than 7 yards per attempt.

Junior Charlie Montgomery, the team's leading receiver as a sophomore, missed the season opener with a sprained ankle and has seen limited duty the past two weeks. Montgomery, expected to be a key part of the Red Devils' new spread offense, has just two catches for seven yards and eight carries for 28 yards.

"He's getting better every day," Chaffee coach Charlie Vickery said.

Portageville already has surpassed its win total of last year under first-year coach Jeff Bullock, who took over after a 2-8 season. The Bulldogs opened their season with a 38-14 victory against St. Pius, which broke a 19-game losing streak against Chaffee in Week 2 with a 16-8 win in double overtime. The Bulldogs' other victories came against winless Kennett and Malden.

Portageville has some dangerous weapons in its Wing-T offense operated by junior quarterback Bryce Wallace.

"They have four really good running backs," Vickery said. "They all run hard and they all have good speed. They're very dangerous."

Senior Daniel Allen ran for 154 yards on 24 carries against Kennett. Seniors Dominique Walker and Dion Foster also have been contributors in the rushing attack. Walker, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, is a speedster who returned the Kennett game's opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

Chaffee will be playing without junior linebacker Cole Hanna due to a concussion.

Scott City (3-0) at Malden (1-2)

Last week: Portageville 22, Malden 13; Scott City 36, at East Prairie 0

Last year: Malden 47, Scott City 21

Outlook: Scott City is 3-0 for the first time in five seasons and seeks its first 4-0 start since opening the 2004 season with six wins.

The Rams have outscored their opponents 74-26, with the bulk of their points yielded in a 29-20 victory against St. Vincent in Week 2.

The task will get tougher this week against a Malden team that has both speed and size.

"They're an impressive team," Scott City coach Jim May said. "They've played a pretty tough schedule so far. I know they don't have a great record, but they'll be by far the best team we've played up to date."

Scott City senior running back Travis Phillips has topped 100 yards in all three games and has 431 yards on the season. The Rams' ground game also has been getting production from others. Phillips carried 24 times for 132 yards against East Prairie, but his teammates carried 20 times for 112 yards. Junior Zach Carlyle had 57 yards on seven carries, while fullback Zach Haynes scored two rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive week.

The Rams are averaging 331 yards of offense per game, including 236.6 yards rushing.

Caruthersville's Darrell Monroe ripped off 363 yards on 19 carries against the Green Wave in Week 2, but May said that had more to do with the talent of the big and speedy Monroe rather than the Malden defense.

"Their defensive line is really impressive," May said. "They get off the ball really well."

Malden starts a freshman at quarterback in Chapen Riley. Senior Romello McCoy is the team's top threat at running back. McCoy had 159 yards rushing and 222 all-purpose yards in the first half against Caruthersville before leaving with a leg injury. McCoy, who played last week, also topped 100 yards in a season-opening win against New Madrid County Central.

"He's the real deal," May said. "He's one of the better backs around. He's a physical back and he's fast."

The Rams return junior linebacker Gordon Bradley to the lineup after he missed two weeks with an injury.

Herculaneum (1-2) at St. Vincent (1-2)

Last week: Herculaneum 32, Jefferson 26; Valle 36, St. Vincent 7

Last year: St. Vincent 28, Herculaneum 20

Outlook: St. Vincent is looking to end a two-game slide against a team which claimed its first victory last week.

The Indians played two-time defending Class 1 champion Valle to a 7-7 deadlock last week, but the Warriors scored 29 unanswered points in the second half behind a strong running attack that featured two 100-yard rushers. Valle's Tyler Fallert finished with 193 yards as the Warriors ran for 394 yards against the Indians.

"For the most part I was pleased with the way we played," St. Vincent coach Paul Sauer said. "It kind of got away from us there at the end."

St. Vincent will face another effective runner this week in Herculaneum junior Dustin Johnson. Johnson carried 31 times last week against Jefferson and rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns, according to stltoday.com.

"He's pretty elusive and runs hard and low. He seems to find little creases," Sauer said.

St. Vincent's offense had averaged 32.5 points in its first two games before running into Valle's strong defense. The Indians have been fairly balanced, averaging 166 yards passing and 132 yards rushing.

"I'd like to see us run the ball better," Sauer said. "At times our passing game looks really good, and at other times not so good. We've got to be more consistent on offense."

Junior Alex Winkler is the Indians' top rusher with 199 yards on 49 carries (4.0 per carry). Senior quarterback Trent Elder also has completed more than 50 percent of his passes to a variety of receivers, including Winkler, junior Kevin Mattingly, and seniors Jesse Francis and Trenton Gremaud.

Junior linebacker/fullback Levi Gotto is questionable for tonight's game.

Perryville (2-1) at Fredericktown (2-1)

Last week: Potosi 30, Perryville 14; Park Hills 20, Fredericktown 14, OT

Last year: Fredericktown 19, Perryville 0

Outlook: Both teams are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season.

Perryville still is off to its best start since the 2007 season.

Fredericktown handled Kennett and Hillsboro handily in the first two weeks of the season before losing last week's game in overtime.

Versatile quarterback Jeremy Gremminger is the cornerstone of the Blackcats' offense. Gremminger showed his dual running and passing abilities the first two weeks. He rushed for four touchdowns against Kennett, then passed for four touchdowns against Hillsboro. He had more than 100 yards rushing in both games, totaling 253 yards on 47 carries.

His top targets are Justin Sawyer, Jake Korokis and Jon Comfort. Sawyer had eight catches against Hillsboro, while Korokis hauled in three touchdowns against Hillsboro.

Sophomore Tyler Holligan directs the Perryville offense. Junior running back Cody Crawford, who has been the Pirates' top rusher, is questinable for tnight's game with a high ankle sprain.

-- Jeff Breer

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