After playing over 100 years of Missouri High School football the Jackson Fighting Indians finally reached the pinnacle of excellence in 2020, winning their first ever Class 5 State Championship. Under the gritty style of Head Coach Brent Eckley they went a perfect 14-0 and outscored their opponents by an unbelievable margin of 779-165. That flat-out dominance earned them the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year to boot, but sadly, both those players graduated after the Championship season. Still, the roster should be loaded once again and the Fighting Indians look to be a force to be reckoned with.
Week 1: 8/27 Roosevelt
The season’s first matchup is also the inaugural match between these two schools, as the Indians have never faced the Roosevelt Roughriders in their long, storied history. The Roughriders dealt with a truncated season due to Covid 19 last year and went just 1-3 in limited play. Still, they are a talented program and made it all the way to the State Quarterfinals in 2019. This may not be a cake matchup despite Roosevelt’s 2020 struggles.
Week 2: 9/03 @ Hillsboro
The Hawks of Hillsboro haven’t faced the Indians often, but have struggled in their limited matchups with them. Jackson is 3-0 all time vs the Hawks and have won by an average margin of 51 points per game. Hillsboro had a middling season last year, going just 5-5, but is a strong program with a vaunted history, so they will certainly put up a fight.
Week 3: 9/10 @ Poplar Bluff
The Poplar Bluff Mules had a winning record last season going 5-4, but they were no match for the mighty Indians. Jackson won both meetings in 2020 and both were blowouts. The 56-7 and 55-0 victories extended the Indians’ winning streak to six in a row and they are 12-1 against the Mules in their last baker’s dozen. Even though Jackson has to travel for this matchup it should certainly be a winnable one.
Week 4: 9/17 Central (Cape Girardeau)
The Cape Central Tigers are yet another squad that felt the sting of the pandemic last season. After a 3-6 record they ended their season early before the playoffs due to Covid complications. The Indians have dominated the Tigers in recent years though and are currently enjoying a five-game winning streak with a 7-2 record under Coach Eckley. Central last beat Jackson in 2015.
Week 5: 9/24 Sikeston
The Sikeston Bulldogs struggled mightily last season with just a 2-8 record, and their matchup with the Indians was not a pretty one to watch if you were cheering for the Dogs. The 71-0 drubbing gave Jackson an eight-game win streak over Sikeston and improved their record to 8-1 against them in the last nine games. Sikeston had the better of the head-to-head the first three years but it has been all downhill from there.
Week 6: 10/1 Miller Career Academy
The Indians haven’t played the Miller Phoenix since 2015 and the two teams have only faced off twice in school history. Not surprisingly, Jackson was victorious in both contests. MCA also had a rough pandemic-shortened season, being forced to play in the spring. The Phoenix managed to get in just two games and lost them both. They will be looking to get back to normalcy, but the Indians will be a tough test.
Week 7: 10/8 @ Farmington
The Farmington Knights had an excellent season in 2020, going 10-3, but the Jackson Indians were their kryptonite. Jackson won the regular season matchup and then was responsible for knocking Farmington out of the State Tournament. The Knights’ only other loss on the year was to Park Hills Central. Historically Jackson holds the edge as well, winning ten straight with all the matchups under the care of their cerebral Head Coach. Farmington always brings it though and is consistently a talented program, so don’t expect a layup here.
Week 8: 10/15 Cardinal Ritter
The Cardinal Ritter Lions were first introduced to the Jackson Indians last season, and played them tougher than any other team in 2020. The final score of the inaugural matchup was 56-32 and was the closest anyone got to making it a game against the Indians during their Championship run. The Lions are a formidable squad that went 7-4 last year and outscored their opponents 453-252. Expect a solid matchup here.
Week 9: 10/22 @ O’Fallon
The regular season finale is a first-time matchup of these two squads, as the Indians have yet to square off against the O’Fallon Panthers. Once again, the Panthers were another program victimized by the Corona Virus and had to play a Spring season. They managed to go 3-1 and outscored their opponents 136-82. They’ll surely be pleased to have a normal 2021 season, but the Indians will be a tough draw for their final game.
Football is unpredictable by nature, so this 2021-22 season is sure to be filled with surprises, along with fulfilled expectations. Any given Friday…
Good luck Indians!