Jackson trounces Sikeston

Saturday, September 1, 2001

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Jackson showed many faces Friday night.

The Indians played razzle-dazzle football.

They played smash-mouth football.

They played sloppy football.

But in the end, they played winning football.

Jackson, though clearly not in its top form, knocked off Sikeston 34-7 Friday night at Public Schools Stadium.

Jackson coach Carl Gross unveiled a new type of unpredictable offense, showcasing Mario Whitney as a quarterback, platooning him with Bryan Austin.

The Indians ran seemingly every play imaginable -- a halfback pass, a reverse, draw plays, pass plays -- and did so with mixed results.

Whitney, taken out of the game with 6:34 in the third quarter after leg cramps -- ended up with a game-high 90 yards rushing on 16 carries. He scored three touchdowns. He also completed 2-of-6 passes for 61 yards and two interceptions.

Jackson tight end Seth McDowell caught three passes for 74 yards.

"The line did a great job blocking and the quarterbacks put the ball right there," McDowell said.

The Indians' numbers probably would've been better, but Jackson took advantage of great field position as the defense forced five turnovers and several three-and-outs.

But the Indians didn't feel very good about Friday night's game because of 16 penalties. Those penalties cost Jackson 105 yards and no telling how many points.

"We scored 34 points so I know we did something right," Jackson coach Carl Gross said. "It's just that right now I can't think of one thing."

"We really shot ourselves in the foot," McDowell said. "We pulled ourselves together a little bit but we're a long way from being perfect."

The first few minutes of the game was madness.

On the first play of the game, Sikeston fumbled the kickoff return.

On the second play of the game, Whitney's halfback pass was intercepted.

On the fourth play of the game, Sikeston fumbled again and Jackson recovered at the 3-yard line.

At the 9:04 mark of the first quarter, Jackson took the lead on a 1-yard run by Whitney, followed by a blocked extra-point kick.

Sikeston then established some order, assembling an 11-play, six-minute drive which resulted in a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Drew Lawrence.

Then things got back to un-normal.

There were two more interceptions, a lost fumble and 10 penalties in the first half, but there was also some exciting plays, including 44-yard and 21-yard pass completions from Whitney to tight end Seth McDowell.

An interception by Brian Randolf deep inside Sikeston territory resulted in a quick score as Whitney ran in from six yards out with 22 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Indians a 12-7 lead after a two-point conversion failed.

The Indians claimed a 20-7 lead at the 3:32 mark when Whitney -- on fourth down and four to go -- ran off tackle and cut back to score from 21 yards out.

Jackson took a 27-7 lead with 4:54 left in the third quarter when James Love bolted in for a score from five yards out.

Stuart McIntosh got into the action with 3:43 left in the game and scored from four yards out to make the score 34-7.

Four different running backs (Whitney, Love, McIntosh and Gabe Koehler) had carries of at least 10 yards for Jackson.

Brad Berry finished with 39 yards on seven carries.

"Jackson is a good football team, no doubt about it," Sikeston coach Charlie Vickery said. "They played outstanding defense."

Sikeston had just 130 total yards. Jackson's Bryan Randolf and Seth Harrell both intercepted passes.

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