Cape Central Football

Indians Topple Tigers in Historic Win

The Jackson Indians use a massive second half to dismantle the Cape Central Tigers and give Head Coach Brent Eckley his 200th career win.

The Jackson Indians capitalized on multiple turnovers and used a second-half scoring explosion to make some history for vaunted Head Coach Brent Eckley on Friday night against the Cape Central Tigers. The 42-14 victory gave Eckley his 200th win as a Head Coach and his 99th while calling the shots with the Indians. The effort gave Jackson their third straight win, while the Tigers dropped back-to-to-back games for the first time this season.

Working his way up the ladder from Hickman Mills, Warrensburg, Montgomery County and Union to now finding such incredible success with Jackson, we caught up with Eckley and asked him how it felt to reach this impactful milestone while racking up 99 of those wins with the Indians?

He responded with, “I’ve felt really fortunate to work with great kids at each school. We’ve had good administrative support and excellent parental involvement. Parents of football kids are special people. I’ve been very lucky to have great assistant coaches that worked hard for our program.  It’s taken A LOT of people to put their ego aside to support the vision. In particular, Jackson is a special to place to be involved in education and to be a football coach.”

As for the historic game in question, the Indians kicked off the scoring at the nine minute mark of the first quarter after a blocked punt led to a one-yard punch in from running back Tony Williams for a 6-0 lead. Then when the Tigers got the ball back, the Indians Defense stepped up and forced a fumble to create excellent field position for Williams to strike again. This time from four yards out, and the TD gave Jackson a 12-0 lead.

The momentum would shift a bit after that though, as Central’s D stepped up and foiled the two-point conversion attempt. Then on the ensuing possession, the Tigers marched down the field and got on the board courtesy of a three-yard run by stud back Zai’Aire Thomas. Suddenly it was a 12-7 game.

Then came the play that changed the script of the game in a monumental way. Senior QB Morgan Diamond found Freshman wideout Marquel Murray for a 97-yard bomb to give Cape a 13-12 lead, but the play was called back due to offensive pass interference, and the Indians saw an opportunity to strike.

You can’t give a team as dangerous as Jackson a do-over, and when the Indians smell blood you can’t uncork that bottle. On the very next play Jackson sacked Diamond in the end zone for a safety. Jackson then got the ball back and Chase Fischer ran it from a yard out to give the Tribe a 21-7 lead at the half. There was some bad news though as Williams had to exit the game due to injury. His status for next week is still unclear.

That didn’t slow the Indians down though, as they kicked off the third quarter with another rushing TD, this time by wideout Isaiah Davis. Five minutes later, a quarterback keeper by Adrian Fox led to a seven-yard scamper into the end zone, and Jackson extended their lead to 35-7. Cape then once again got in their own way as Diamond was hit behind the line and fumbled, setting the stage for a Hayden Wessell scoop-and-score to put the Indians into unreachable territory.

The Tigers did have a little left in the tank though, as Diamond found Marshon Edwards for a six-yard bullet into the end zone to get Central back on the board. Forty-two points was too much to overcome though, and the Indians held on for the win.

When asked about his team’s performance and the effect of all the turnovers, Central Head Coach John Gibbs said, “We played well at times, but were not consistent enough on offense and we need to tackle better on defense. As good teams do, they took advantage of our mistakes and turned them into points. We battled throughout the game, but got beat by a better football team.”

The Indians outgunned the Tigers 375-129 of total yardage in this one, and Jackson used the ground game to do nearly all of the damage with 312 yards to just 45 by Central. The QB duo of Fox and Zach Calder were a combined 10-of-14 for 63 yards through the air, but gained nearly 100 on the ground (with Fox rushing for 72 himself.) Williams made the biggest dent with 92 yards and a pair of scores before being forced out due to injury in the second quarter. What a game that could have been for Jackson’s lead back.

As for the Tigers, Diamond and Thomas were once again the driving force of the offense. The Senior QB was 9-of-17 through the air with a touchdown, and Thomas was responsible for the other TD, while leading the rushing attack with 28 yards on 15 carries.

This one was just littered with too many mistakes for the Tigers, and the team that wins the turnover battle, typically wins the game. That was very much the case in this one as Jackson made Central pay in spades for every miscue.

The Indians are now 3-2 on the season after their third straight win, and the Tigers fall to 2-3 after their second straight tough loss. Cape will try to get back on track next week as they travel to Farmington, while Jackson will look for four straight as they head to Sikeston in search of Coach Eckley’s 100th win as an Indian. Indians Topple Tigers in Historic Win

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