Week 6 football features a clash of unbeatens

Friday, September 28, 2012
Jackson receiver Lowgn Wren scores the winning touchdown on a pass from quarterback Ty Selsor to defeat rival Central 29-26 last week. The score helped the Indians remain unbeaten and gave them a shot at clinching the SEMO Conference Northern Division tonight against Sikeston. (ADAM VOGLER)

Jackson (5-0) at Sikeston (5-0)

Last week: Jackson 29, Central 26; Sikeston 19, Poplar Bluff 7

Last year: Sikeston 35, Jackson 9

Outlook: A rejuvenated Jackson football program has turned this Week 6 meeting into a battle of unbeatens.

Sikeston, ranked No. 4 in Class 4, is off to another fast start. The Bulldogs have entered Week 6 unbeaten in two of the past three seasons, compiling a combined 14-1 record during that time frame.

Jackson is unbeaten in Week 6 for the first time since 2007, when it went undefeated during the regular season. The Indians can match their combined win total from the last three seasons and clinch the SEMO Conference Northern Division title with a victory tonight.

Jackson (3-0 in conference) and Sikeston (2-0) both have defeated Farmington and Poplar Bluff this season. Jackson has won the contests by a combined 76-28 score, while Sikeston has won by a 57-13 margin.

Each team has played only one opponent that had a winning record heading into Week 6. Sikeston beat Charleston (3-2) in Week 1, while Jackson beat North County (3-2) that same week.

Jackson junior running back Colten Proffer only picked up steam last week after leaving the Week 4 win over Poplar Bluff with an injury. Proffer ran for a career-high 208 yards and has 581 yards on the season. Proffer is averaging 8.4 yards per carry. He is also the team's second-leading receiver with 15 catches for 221 yards.

Brannon Wright status for tonight's game is unknown. Wright leads the region with 522 yards receiving on 26 catches. Wright had a season-low 26 yards receiving on three catches last week before leaving the game in the third quarter with a leg injury that has been bothering him for awhile.

The Indians, who were held to a season-low 29 points by Central, average 39 points per game.

They lead the region with an average of 463 yards total offense per game. The attack is balanced with averages of 203 yards passing and 260 yards rushing.

Junior quarterback Ty Selsor has completed 63 percent of his passes (58 of 92) for 981 yards and is second on the team in rushing with 262 yards (3.7 ypc). Garrett Miller is third in rushing with 178 yards but has a lofty average of 12.7 yards per carry.

Sikeston has allowed just 20 points over its past four games, including a 12-0 shutout of New Madrid in Week 2.

Sikeston's offense is ground oriented. The Bulldogs average 271 yards rushing per game and 74 passing.

Sikeston has moved Kyland Gross -- formerly a dangerous weapon at receiver and running back -- to quarterback his senior season. Gross is the Bulldogs' main offensive weapon with 672 yards rushing. He averages 9.7 yards per carry. Gross accounted for 167 of Sikeston's 186 rushing yards against Poplar Bluff on just nine carries. He had touchdown runs of 71 and 57 yards against the Mules and threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Aundrea Golden. Gross threw for a career-high 105 yards on 4 of 11 passing, with the four completions going to four receivers.

Gross has thrown for 370 yards on the season, completing 23 of 56 attempts (41 percent).

Chris Word is second on the team in rushing with 258 yards (3.8 ypc). He was Sikeston's second-leading rusher against Bluff with 15 carries for 31 yards.

Sikeston has won the last three meetings by a combined score of 111-27.

Central (2-3) at Farmington (1-4)

Last week: Jackson 29, Central 26; North County 42, Farmington 6

Last year: Farmington 49, Central 34

Outlook: Central looks to end a two-game losing streak, while Farmington will try to end a three-game skid.

Both teams have lost to Jackson, but the Tigers played the Indians much closer. Jackson rallied for a three-point victory in the closing minutes to beat Central but soundly defeated Farmington 34-15.

Central coach Nathan Norman has been on letdown alert after the tough loss to archrival Jackson last week.

"Obviously it scares us a little bit after a big game like we had last week -- the mindset of the kids," Norman said. "We had a good week of practice, and hopefully we go out and perform well [tonight].

The Tigers average 216 yards rushing and 72 yards passing per game. Senior Chris Martin had 115 yards rushing against Jackson on 16 carries but was used sparingly on offense in the second half. He leads the team with 478 yards (6.8 ypc) rushing on the season. Senior Jacob Campbell is second with 338 yards (6,6 ypc).

Junior quarterback Dennis Vinson completed just 2 of 9 passes last week, but both where touchdown strikes to senior receiver Garan Evans.

Farmington's spread offense has been throttled this year after putting up big numbers over the past three seasons. The Knights topped 40 points eight times in 2011, but they have scored 15 or fewer points in four of their five games. Junior quarterback Justin Boehm directs the offense. Other weapons in the Knights' attack are junior running back Colten Coulter and senior receivers Jared Dunlap and Evan Dunivan.

Both Central and Farmington reside in Class 4 District 1, and the meeting could be a preview for another potential showdown down the road.

"I tell the kids it's the second half of the season," Norman said. "It's obviously the big part of it. We're starting district play, and we obviously need to play well and we can still achieve the goals we set out to achieve."

East Prairie (0-5) at Chaffee (1-4)

Last week: Malden 46, East Prairie 7; Scott City 27, East Prairie 12

Last year: Chaffee 42, East Prairie 12

Outlook: Chaffee has dropped its last four games after winning its season opener.

East Prairie enters with a 13-game losing streak that began in Week 3 of the 2011 season. The Eagles, who have been shut out two times, have been outscored 239-25 this season.

Chaffee totaled 36 points in its season opener against Grandview. The Red Devils have managed only 36 points since. Injuries have played a big part in the Red Devils' problems, and the battle on that front is beginning to subside.

"We're probably as healthy as we've been since the first of the year," Chaffee coach Charlie Vickery said.

Junior lineman Corey Kirchdoerfer and junior linebacker Cole Hanna have been cleared to return after missing time due to concussions.

Vickery also said junior running back/receiver Charlie Montgomery is looking stronger on the field after dealing with a high ankle sprain through the first half of the season. Montgomery, who had more than 800 yards of offense as a sophomore, surpassed his entire yardage for the Devils' previous four games this season with 102 total yards against Scott City last week. Montgomery had 92 yards on three receptions.

"He's getting a lot better now, and that makes a big difference for us," Vickery said.

Vickery said sophomore lineman Nick Palmer is the only player who will not be available this week.

East Prairie has averaged about 100 yards total offense on the season.

"They're really young like we are," Vickery said. "I know they're looking at it as, ‘Hey, Chaffee's 1-4 and we're 0-5 and we've got a chance to win.' So we've got to go out and take care of business."

Crystal City (1-4) at St. Vincent (2-3)

Last week: Jefferson 24, Crystal City 22; St. Vincent 28, Lift For Life 12

Last year: Crystal City 26, St. Vincent 16

Outlook: The Indians snapped a three-game slide with a victory at home last week.

St. Vincent got its offense back on track after scoring just 13 points combined the previous two weeks against Class 1 power Valle Catholic and Herculaneum.

Junior running back/receiver Alex Winkler helped get the Indians back on track with a 137-yard rushing performance on 24 carries. The versatile Winkler had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Quarterback Trent Elder also had 82 yards rushing on 11 carries.

Crystal City's lone victory is a Week 3 forfeit win against Lift For Life. It's first three losses came against teams that all are 4-1 -- Brentwood, South Calloway and Valle Catholic -- entering Week 6. The Hornets have been outscored 163-38 in the four games they have played but only lost by two points last week to Jefferson (2-2)

Sophomore Peyton Pollock operates the Hornets' offense, while senior Alex Politte is the top rusher.

Ste. Genevieve (4-1) at Perryville (2-3)

Last week: Ste. Genevieve 22, Park Hills 21; Maplewood 49, Perryville 10

Last year: Ste. Genevieve 72, Perryville 6

Outlook: Perryville faces its second straight state-ranked opponent as it tries to end a three-game slide after opening the season 2-0.

The Dragons' lone loss was an eight-point setback sustained in Week 3 against state-ranked Maplewood, which defeated Perryville by 39 points last week. The Dragons posted a one-point victory against a strong Park Hills team last week despite the absence of three starters who have been lost to season-ending knee injuries. Among the casualties is all-state receiver Adam Schwent, who led the team in receptions and touchdown catches before going down. Ste. Genevieve is ranked No. 6 in Class 3 and averaging 34.6 points per game despite the problems.

Junior Matt Drury directs the Ste. Genevieve offense. He's completed 58 percent of his passes for 671 yards. Senior Jacob Roe is the Dragons' top receiver in yardage with 197 yards on 13 catches.

The Dragons are balanced but lean toward the run, averaging 217 yards on the ground and 146 in the air. Junior Brendan Dallas is Ste. Genevieve's top rusher with 447 yards (5.5 ypc), and all three of the Dragons' TDs last week came on the run. Dallas ran in a two-point conversion in the closing minutes of last week's win to provide the winning points. Gabe Meyer has 376 yards (6.3 ypc) rushing, while Drury is third with 223 yards.

Perryville is averaging 212 yards total offense, with the bulk coming on the ground. Junior running back Cody Crawford (6.5 ypc) is the Pirates' top rusher with 285 yards but has been limited recently with a high ankle sprain. He played sparingly last week but is expected to see more carries tonight. Fellow junior running back Jonny Pruiett also has been nursing an ankle sprain and has been preserved mainly for defense. Senior Levis Zook, who is second on the team in rushing with 178 yards, had saw an increased workload last week but sustained a concussion and will be held out of tonight's game.

The Pirates also will be missing junior defensive tackle Aaron McCarthy with a back injury.

"We're just trying to clean things up and play better football," Perryville coach Mike Wojtczuk said.

Scott City (4-1) at Portageville (5-0)

Last week: Scott City 27, East Prairie 12; Portageville 35, Hayti 22

Last year: Scott City 31, Portageville 30

Outlook: The two teams played to an exciting finish in last year's game. Scott City scored in the finals seconds to overtake the Bulldogs despite losing running back Travis Phillips to a season-ending knee injury shortly after halftime.

Phillips had 208 yards before being injured. Phillips has proven himself more than healthy this season with five consecutive 100-yard games. Phillips had 36 carries last week for a season-high 183 yards and leads the area with 737 yards on the season.

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

Senior tailback Daniel Allen ran for three touchdowns in last year's game against Scott City. Allen is the Bulldogs' leading rusher on the season. Seniors Dominique Walker and Dion Foster also have been contributors in the rushing attack.

"They have about four of them that are real, real good," May said. "[Allen]'s been the main cog here the last week or two, but they have multiple backs that are very, very good."

The Bulldogs also try to strike occasionally with the pass.

"We can't make mistakes," May said. "They're fundamentally sound. They're a quality team, and everybody they play, when they make mistakes, they just capitalize. You can't turn the ball over and get yourself in long down and distances. We have to keep moving the chains to have a chance."

-- Jeff Breer

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