Last week was a real snooze fest for the Jackson Indians, but that was just fine with Head Coach Brent Eckley‘s squad. The reason there was nothing going on was because the Indians earned the luxury of a first-round bye in the District playoffs, so hopefully that was a well-earned extra week of practice, rest and healing of all the ailments that come with the long grind of a regular season.
The idea is that that extra time has the Indians locked and loaded to take on the Poplar Bluff Mules in the District Semifinals on Friday, November 4th. This 6-3 Jackson squad didn’t have their prototypical regular season, losing three of nine games, but they are just as dangerous as ever. And they are no strangers to besting the Mules. In Week 4 they took them down 35-7, and last season they won 50-32.
Jackson earned the first seed by going 4-0 in District play, and that was thanks to a balanced attack on both sides of the ball. On the season, the Indians only allowed 157 points and were able to produce 392 on offense. That last number has a lot to do with the play of the Big 5.
The Quarterback duo of Zach Calder and Adrian Fox have been successful both through the air and on the ground, splitting time in a way Coach Eckley best sees fit based on game script. They have legit weapons at their disposal though, with receivers Isiah Davis and Kai Crowe stepping up and making big plays every week.
The running game is controlled once again by Senior tailback Tony Williams, who was lost for a chunk of the season due to injury, but he is back in the fold and ready to roll. The Tribe will likely need to lean on him to establish a rushing presence that will either set up the ground game, or create havoc for the arial attack.
As for the fourth-seeded Mules, they were just 4-5 in the regular season, but did a nice job of dispatching fifth-seeded Fox in the District Quarterfinals. They won 30-0 and left no doubt that, despite the tight seeding, they were the superior squad.
Poplar Bluff started off the season with four straight losses, but really turned things around in the second half with four straight wins against Sikeston, Fox, Farmington and Kennett. That certainly got the fans back in it, but the indisputable fact is that any time they played a superior program they found themselves on the losing end of the stick. Park Hills, Cape, Jackson, Hillsboro… these are all dominant all-around programs and the Mules did not fare well in any of those contests.
The offense certainly leaves something to be desired with only 199 total points scored this season, but the defense can be a strong suit. They allowed just 186 points on the year as a team and will need to lean on that faction if they’re going to have a chance against Jackson’s Big 5.
Time will tell, but the script appears to be written for this one.
Good luck Indians!