Jackson dominates Sumner, wins 42-0

Saturday, September 8, 2001

JACKSON, Mo. -- Jackson High football coach Carl Gross came away not feeling all that good about the Indians' season opener last weekend, even though they routed Sikeston by 27 points.

But Gross was feeling plenty good Friday night as the Indians pushed their early-season record to 2-0 with a totally dominant 42-0 blowout of visiting Sumner.

The Indians throttled the St. Louis squad in every way imaginable, piling up 280 yards rushing and forcing the Bulldogs to finish with a total yardage figure of minus 37. Sumner failed to register even a single first down and crossed midfield just once, that after a long kickoff return to Jackson's 45-yard line. But even that ensuing drive reached only the 44.

"If you had told me this before the game, I'd have said no way," said Gross, who felt the 0-2 Bulldogs are a lot better than what Jackson made them look. "After watching them play last week and watching film of our game with them last year...

"But we blocked at the line of scrimmage, our backs ran hard and our defense swarmed. Any time you put a goose egg up on the board, you've got to be pleased. It looked like we played defense with 15 guys."

Said Jackson linebacker Seth Harrell, who spearheaded the Indians' overwhelming defense along with fellow linebacker James Love and a host of other players, "We wanted a shutout tonight. I'd say this is the best (defensive) performance by far for the senior class. We just stayed in it and really practiced this week."

The only reason Jackson's offense didn't finish with more yards -- the Indians had 288 total -- is because of tremendous field position all night that limited the length of the scoring drives.

In jumping out to a 28-0 halftime lead, the Indians' four touchdown drives covered 42, 37, 25 and 5 yards.

Jackson's stellar running back, Mario Whitney, put on an impressive display, with plenty of help from a dominating offensive line.

Whitney, who has given the University of Missouri a verbal commitment, scored four touchdowns, on runs of 16, 19, 5 and 62 yards. He finished with 143 yards on just eight carries.

Whitney's most dazzling run was the 62-yarder on the first play of the second half in which he broke several tackles and used his lightning quickness to change directions several times. That TD made it 34-0 and signaled the end of the night for Whitney and most of the other Jackson starters.

"Mario is unbelievable, but he'll be the first to tell you it was fun to be a running back tonight because I can't say enough about the job our offensive line did," Gross said.

Fullback Brad Berry added 64 yards on seven carries and he scored on an 18-yard run.

Jackson's other touchdown was by reserve tailback Gabe Koehler, on a 10-yard run.

The Indians also tacked on a safety as Love tackled Sumner quarterback Chad Williams in the end zone.

In addition to the impressive performance, what also pleased Gross was that so many of his player saw considerable action. Jackson began to clear its bench late in the first half, and many of the starters were done for good after the first play of the final half.

"All those kids work hard and it's nice to see them get to play a lot," said Gross.

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