CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- Jackson's schedule is too weak, they said.
The Indians are too one-dimensional, they said.
Overrated, they said.
Well, look who is in the Class 5A semifinals.
Jackson proved their skeptics wrong Monday night as they improved to 12-0 with a dominating 19-0 quarterfinal victory over Parkway West (9-3).
"All year long we've been saying you've got to win the next one if you want to win them all," Jackson center Peter Ressler said. "It feels good to say that in Week 13."
Jackson will take on nationally ranked Hazelwood East at home on Saturday.
In a game the Indians could've won by at least 35 if not for stalling a couple times in the red zone, Jackson outgained the Longhorns 406 yards to 113.
Mario Whitney rushed for 271 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries.
"I consider our guys the best line in the state," Whitney said. "I mean, they do the work, I just happen to run with it."
The game was tied at 0-0 after the first quarter and Jackson seemed a little tight, especially on the first couple of possessions.
On defense, the Indians allowed a 13-yard run on the first play of the game.
On offense, the Indians failed to complete a wide-open pass play on third down that could've resulted in a long touchdown.
But the butterflies soon vanished and the Indians pretty much did whatever they wanted on both sides of the ball.
"We adjusted to the defense pretty well," Ressler said. "That feels good to know we can adjust to whatever look they give us."
The Indians' defense played arguably its best game of the season. The run and pass defense were both stellar.
Jackson allowed 34 rushing yards while holding West quarterback Blake Witte to just five of 13 passing for 79 yards and one interception.
Cornerback Gabe Baugh had an especially impressive game, batting down several passes. He was in position to make a couple of interceptions, but a heavily wrapped hand prevented him from doing so.
"I think all the DBs played exceptionally well and we got good pressure from the D-line," Baugh said. "We're really stepping up now. It'll be fun watching film tomorrow."
Jackson scored its first touchdown with 8:30 left in the first quarter when quarterback Bryan Austin hit tight end Matt Roethemeyer from 26 yards out. It was Roethemeyer's first touchdown reception of the season.
With 3:04 to go in the first half, West's punter bobbled the snap and senior Gabe Koehler blocked the punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety. So Jackson got the ball back with a 9-0 lead.
With just 10 seconds left in the first half, Chad Reiminger, who also made two extra points, booted a low line drive for a 35-yard field goal to put the Indians up 12-0 at the break.
Whitney scored on a 72-yard run on Jackson's third play of the third quarter to put Jackson up 19-0.
Jackson had the ball in the red zone three times and failed to score. Once, Jackson lost a fumble. Another time, a penalty negated a Whitney touchdown and the Indians turned the ball over on downs. And the third time, Jackson was running out the clock at the end of the game. The Indians rushed for 359 yards.
Jackson coach Carl Gross said going into the game that the offensive line needed to play as it did in the Indians' 31-6 win over Summit.
"They got it done," Gross said. "In the first half, we weren't quite as good as we have been. At halftime, we said we weren't going to be complicated. I thought they took over in the second half."
Longhorns coach Boyd Manne agreed.
When asked if he sensed that Jackson wore down his team in the second half, he said, "Yeah, they're a physical team and they were controlling the line-of-scrimmage. They're well-coached. They've got a great running back and a great defense. They're a great football team."
Jackson fullback Brad Berry finished with 90 yards on 14 carries.
With the win, Jackson earned the right to host a state semifinal.
"We get one more at Jackson," Gross said proudly. "We're going to meet probably the most talented team in the state. But it's still high school football. We're excited about the opportunity."