Jackson-Central game highlights Week 5 of local high school football

Friday, September 21, 2012
Jackson running back Colten Proffer runs the ball during the Indians’ 41-14 win against Poplar Bluff last week. Proffer, who leads the undefeated Indians in rushing, left last week’s game with an injury but is expected to play tonight. (ADAM VOGLER)

Jackson (4-0) at Central (2-2)

Last week: Jackson 41, Poplar Bluff 14; Ft. Zumwalt East 21, Central 7

Last year: Central 14, Jackson 12

Outlook: Central will be hosting the Indians on its own campus for the first time in a 100-year-old rivalry that started in 1912.

"Kids are kids. They don't understand it," said Central second-year coach Nathan Norman, a former all-state player for Jackson. "I'll tell you, the Cape Central fans and Cape Central community, they think about it. It's a big day for them. The first time in the history that the rivalry will be played at a Cape Girardeau high school field."

Central running back Chris Martin celebrates after a play during a game earlier this season. The Tigers will host Jackson on their own school grounds for the first time in the 100-year history of the rivalry tonight in Week 5 of the high school football season. Martin, a senior, is Central’s leading rusher. (ADAM VOGLER)

The Tigers are hosting their eighth game at their new field and are 5-2 on the synthetic surface.

Central, which previously played its home games at Houck Stadium on the Southeast Missouri State campus, leads the series 58-40. There also have been seven ties in the rivalry game.

This is the third consecutive year one of the teams has entered the game unbeaten after both entered the infamous 2009 meeting winless in Week 10. The Tigers entered both of the last two meetings unbeaten and won both. The most recent Central wins came after the Indians won the previous seven meetings.

The rivalry game has gotten its second coaching change in two years.

Norman faced his alma mater for the first time as a head coach last year and led the Tigers to victory. Jackson first-year coach Brent Eckley is the new ingredient to the rivarly this time around.

"There doesn't seem to be a big difference in the way we're approaching or preparing for this one," Eckley said. "I don't get a sense from our program, from the inside anyway, that this is a make or break deal for us. I know the perception on the outside ... yeah, I think other people feel that it's certainly an important game. And we think all of them are important."

Eckley has the Indians in high gear with an offense that is averaging 41.5 points through four games, already surpassing last season's point total. The 4-0 Indians can equal their win total from the last two seasons combined with a victory tonight.

Norman has watched the Jackson revival with interest.

"Some of my best friends, and my brother [Brandon] coaches over there," Norman said. "I wish them all the luck in the world, except when they play us."

Jackson senior quarterback Ty Selsor is leading a balanced attack that has averaged 219.5 yards rushing and 247 yards passing -- 466.5 yards overall. Selsor has eclipsed 1,000 yards of offense. He has completed 70 percent of his passes (45 of 64) for 842 yards and is the team's second-leading rusher with 201 yards (4.0 yards per carry).

Junior Colten Proffer leads the team with 373 yards rushing and averages 8.3 yards a carry. He's rushed for a team-high six TDs and is tied with senior receiver Brannon Wright for the team lead with eight overall.

Proffer carried only twice in the second half of last week's win against Poplar Bluff after taking a couple hard hits. The Indians didn't miss a beat with the handoffs going to junior Garrett Miller, who carried five times for 91 yards. Miller has carried only nine times this season but averages an eye-popping 18.3 yards per attempt and has 165 yards overall.

Eckley said Proffer has been cleared to play this week after suffering bruised ribs and a neck stinger against Poplar Bluff.

"Last week he would have been able to finish the deal, due to the ribs," Eckley said. "He was going to be able to finish there, but then he ended up getting a stinger, and the doctor thought -- he had some pain, some point pain on his neck in the vertebrae area -- and so we just wanted to be safe. Colten had no say in the matter. He was going to be held due to the neck issue.

"He had a couple of tough hits in there, but he's a tough kid. He'll be ready to roll. He was little bit lighter in practice early in the week, but here at the tail end he's been rolling."

Wright has been dealing with a leg injury, according to Eckley. "We're not sure how he'll be able to function," Eckley said. "That just will be a game-day decision."

The speedy Wright continues to be the centerpiece of the Indians' passing attack with 23 catches for 500 yards and five touchdowns. Wright's ability to get behind secondaries is reflected in his touchdown receptions -- 76, 80, 79, 71 and 51 yards. Proffer is second with 10 catches for 175 yards.

"They've got several kids that can run on offense, and a true track star in Brannon Wright, and they've got a quality line," Norman said. "They're going to be a very formidable opponent."

Inside receiver Taylor Henson may be available to play this week after missing last week with mononucleosis.

Miller leads the defense with 37 solo tackles and 50 tackles overall.

The Indians are averaging 3.5 sacks a game. Junior defensive lineman Garrett Koch and junior linebacker Trea Forbs both have three sacks.

Eckley said the Tigers possess the best overall team speed the Indians have faced this season, and the offensive line could be the best they've seen.

"They've got athleticism and some good size," Eckley said. "You can tell they've got some kids that have been in the weight room -- they're pretty powerful."

Eckley said turnovers and adjusting to Central's power and speed will be critical for his team.

"They've got some really nice skilled kids," Eckley said. "We think their quarterback is a really nice athlete. The kids that are rotating in at tailback are just outstanding. They seem like they run really tough and have really good instincts when they're running with the football. They seem like they run physically and with confidence. Their receivers seem like they could be big-play guys."

Central was held to a season-low 218 yards of offense in last week's loss to Ft. Zumwalt East. The Tigers, who average 226 yards rushing and 78 yards passing per game, again had their most success on the ground. Junior Chris Martin and senior Jacob Campbell, Central's two leading rushers on the season, combined for 151 yards rushing on 30 carries. Martin has a team-high 363 yards (6.8 ypc), while Campbell has 287 yards (7.5 ypc).

"I think it will come down to turnovers, in my opinion," Norman said. "I think we have a quality defense, and so do they. A lot of times, when teams like Farmington who run the spread, do so well and score points, everyone thinks it's their offense. But Jackson has a quality defense. It's two good defenses playing each other."

That said, Norman added, "I do think there will be points scored."

"I'm hoping we can establish some offense and limit their big plays on defense," Eckley said.

Central junior middle linebacker Scottie Thomas returned from a hip-flexor injury last week and could see additional time on the offensive line tonight.

Both team own a victory over Poplar Bluff.

Central is 1-0 in SEMO North Conference play. Central is currently second in the Class 4 District 1 seedings behind Sikeston. Jackson is 2-0 in the SEMO North and currently first in the Class 5 District 1 seedings.

Chaffee (1-3) at Scott City (3-1)

Last week: Portageville 21, Chaffee 6; Malden 36, Scott City 26

Last year: Scott City 34, Chaffee 20

Outlook: The longtime rivalry finds two teams looking to bounce back from a loss in Week 4. The loss was the first for Scott City.

"We did a little soul-searching earlier this week," May said. "But it's an easy week for us to bounce back, being homecoming and Chaffee and everything all rolled into one. It was pretty easy for them to get back on task."

Chaffee has won three of the last five meetings against Scott City after breaking a 21-game losing streak in the rivalry.

"Chaffee and Scott City is a good rivalry," May said. "The [players] play together a lot during the summers -- baseball teams. And I'm pretty fond of their coaching staff. It's a game they want to win, and I know it's a game we want to win and will give our best effort to get it done."

The Red Devils are striving to find offensive consistency since opening the season with a 36-14 victory. The Red Devils, who have been missing key skill players throughout the season, have totaled just 22 points in a three-game losing streak.

"We really haven't been able to get any offensive consistency with the injuries," Chaffee coach Charlie Vickery said.

The Red Devils will return leading senior receiver Layton Tenkhoff to the field after he missed last week's game with a shoulder injury. Sophomore quarterback Peyton Montgomery and junior running back/receiver Charlie Montgomery also will be in the lineup after missing time earlier. Charlie Montgomery, who had more than 800 yards of offense last year as a runner and receiver, has just 57 yards of total offense thus far as he's made a slow recovery from a high ankle sprain.

"Their offense is explosive," May said. "They'll be back for us -- I'm sure of it. I think they'll be back full force, too."

Scott City senior running back Travis Phillips has been a reliable asset for the Rams since returning from a serious knee injury that ended his junior season. He's topped 100 yards rushing in all four games this season. Phillips carried 27 times for 123 yards against Malden, increasing his team-leading total to 554 yards.

Senior quarterback Jonathan McFall passed for 193 yards against Malden, completing 14 of 25 passes. Phillips rushed 29 times for 118 yards in the Rams' win against Chaffee last season, but McFall also hurt the Red Devils with his passing.

"I think they'd rather just pound the ball at you, but he's capable of throwing the ball like he did last year," Vickery said. "We've got to be ready for both sides. You can't just focus in on stopping the running game, because like last week they threw the ball really well."

The Red Devils will be without two-way junior lineman Corey Kirchdoerfer, who will miss the game with a concussion. Junior linebacker Cole Hanna, also recovering from a concussion, will miss his second consecutive game.

Vickery liked what he saw from his defense after it held an unbeaten Portageville team scoreless in the second half.

"We're seeing some good things," Vickery said. "Even though we've lost three in a row, I think in a lot of areas we're getting better."

Scott City currently is fifth in the Class 2 District 1 seedings. Caruthersville leads the district seedings.

Chaffee is sixth in Class 1 District 1. Unbeaten Portageville leads the seedings with two-time defending state champion Valle Catholic at No. 2.

Maplewood (2-1) at Perryville (2-2)

Last week: Park Hills 7, Maplewood 0; Fredericktown 47, Perryville 7

Last year: Maplewood 52, Perryville 0

Outlook: The Class 4 Pirates are looking to break a two-game losing streak against one of the top Class 2 teams in Missouri.

Maplewood was the top-ranked team in Class 2 before getting shut out by Class 3 Park Hills last week. The Blue Devils had scored at least 30 points in each of their first three wins.

Maplewood represents the only loss for both Brentwood and Ste. Genevieve, which is state-ranked in Class 3.

Perryville has struggled on offense the last two weeks, averaging 119 yards of offense against Potosi and Fredericktown. The Pirates averaged 328 yards of offense in opening 2-0 against East Prairie and Lift For Life.

The Pirates had 556 yards rushing in the first two games but 117 the last two weeks with a couple of their top running backs dealing with injuries.

Junior running back Cody Crawford leads the Pirates with 277 yards rushing (6.6 ypc). He missed last week's game against Fredericktown and will see limited play tonight with a high ankle sprain. Fellow junior Jonny Pruiett also has a high ankle sprain has been preserved mainly for defense. Levis Zook is second in rushing with 164 yards.

"It's kind of tough when you lose you're two starting tailbacks and you have to patch things together a little bit," Perryville coach Mike Wojtczuk said. "It doesn't help any that we kind of struggle throwing the football. They kind of pack the box on us."

The Pirates are connecting on only 30 percent of their pass attempts.

Senior linebacker Aaron Hadler leads the team with 39 solo tackles and 64 tackles overall. Fellow senior linebacker Devon Hadler has a team-high three sacks and is second with 51 tackles.

The Pirates' defense will have its work cut out against a potent Blue Devils attack.

"They've got a lot of speed, a lot of talent," Wojtczuk said. "Basically we're going to try to contain and establich the run and try to hang onto the football on offense and try to chew up the clock. Just play our game."

Maplewood senior quarterback Kahlid Hagens has completed 65 percent of his passes (53 of 81) for 980 yards, according to stltoday.com. He's thrown eight touchdown passes and been intercepted three times.

Hagens has rushed for four more touchdowns and leads the team with 273 yards rushing on 52 carries (5.3 ypc). Sophomore Elijah Keely is second with 170 yards (5.3 ypc). Keely topped 1,000 yards rushing as a freshman.

Junior Cortland Brooks has a team-high 15 receptions for 337 yards. Sophomore Reggie Gwynn has 13 catches, while Keely is second with 244 yards receiving on 11 catches.

The offensive and defensive lines are anchored by senior Antar Thompson, who was the fourth-ranked senior recruit in Missouri by rivals.com entering this season. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Thompson has three sacks and is second on the team with 35 tackles. Wes Williams leads the Blue Devils with 45 tackles.

Rich Nixon is in his first year as coach at Maplewood. Nixon led Hazelwood Central to Class 6 state titles in 2009 and 2010.

Perryville currently is seventh in the Class 4 District 1 seedings.

Lift For Life (0-4) at St. Vincent (1-3)

Last week: Herculaneum 19, St. Vincent 6; Confluence 12, Lift For Life 6

Last year: Did not play

Outlook: St. Vincent will be looking to end a three-game losing streak, while Lift For Life is searching for its first win.

St. Vincent has regressed in point production each week after a 45-22 victory against Sumner in its season opener. The Indians have scored 33 points combined since that opening win, including a season-low six points against Herculaneum last week.

"We have to be able to get our running game going early and keep our offense on the field," St. Vincent coach Paul Sauer said. "We need to move the chains and put points on the board. We've struggled the last three weeks putting points on the board. We've got to finish drives."

St. Vincent's lone points last week came on a 17-yard scoring run by quarterback Trent Elder.

The Indians rushed for 202 yards against Sumner but have struggled to match that production.

"We haven't been able to [run] since -- not consistently," Sauer said. "I'm looking for more consistency from that group. When you watch it on film, there are players taking plays off every play. Every play it seems like it's somebody else. That's what makes it difficult. If it was one guy all the time, you could find a replacement. As soon as we get one side of the line blocking well, somebody on the other side takes a play off."

Junior linebacker/fullback Levi Gotto and junior defensive lineman Josh Hunt are questionable for the Indians.

The Indians gave up three short rushing touchdowns to Herculaneum's Dustin Johnson in last week's loss.

Lift For Life's losses include a forfeit in Week 3 and a 13-12 loss to Perryville in Week 2. The 12 points against Perryville were a season-high for the Hawks.

"They have some tremendous athletes that can break a play open at any time," Sauer said. "They have that speed and big-play capability. We're going to have to be disciplined and do our assignments."

Junior Demarkus Reid and sophomore Duston Ballard have lined up at quarterback for the Hawks, one more of a passer and the other a running threat.

Junior Aaron Bell is the team's top rusher, while senior A.J. Robertson and Timothy Townsend lead the receivers.

St. Vincent currently is fifth in the Class 1 District 1 seedings.

-- Jeff Breer

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: