Last Friday night’s ongoing rivalry game between the Jackson Indians football team (4-1, 3-0 SEMO Conference) and the Cape Central Tigers (2-3, 0-2) proved to be quite the game if you were cheering for the Indians.
For the eighth year of this battle of the bordering cities, the Indians won big in a 50-0 shutout with all of their points being scored in the first half.
As for the first drive of the night, the Indians didn’t allow the Tigers to even get past the 10-yard line. Such a quick transition to offense allowed Jackson freshman running back Jaylon Hampton to run in a handoff for an effortless 5-yard touchdown to start the night.
Hampton had a lot to bring to the table in Jackson’s victory. Running the ball, he produced three rushing touchdowns and gained 113 yards off 10 carries.
For one particular player, this game was more than just a border city rivalry as the Indians starting senior quarterback Adrian Fox used to attend Cape Central. “Deep down, it is my old high school, and I played against a lot of buddies, but we have to take it as another week,” Fox said.
The star quarterback showed no mercy for his former teammates in the matchup. Adrian finished off the night throwing three touchdown passes and adding up 107 total passing yards (6-of-9).
Along with Fox’s performance, backup sophomore quarterback Drew Parsons contributed a touchdown pass in the Indians victory. Parsons and Fox also combined for 99 rushing yards with 55 and 44, respectively.
Multiple people from Jackson’s large roster were able to produce things offensively Friday night. Senior wide receiver Blayne Harris scored twice on touchdown passes from both Fox and Parsons within the first half of the game.
While the scoring aspect of the game was impressive, the Indians defense was nothing if not show-stopping. In the first half alone, the Indians were able to hold the Tigers to negative 22 yards rushing.
“They got after their offensive line and they [the Tigers] came in running the ball really well, so for us to be able to hold them is good to see,” Jackson head coach Ryan Nesbitt said of his defense.
The whole reason Jackson was able to be dominant on offense was because of how quickly their defense stopped the Tigers. Indians senior defensive lineman Hayden Wessell forced the Tigers to fumble the ball, which was quickly recovered by fellow senior defender outside linebacker Fisher Stevens.
Two juniors on the Indians defense didn’t come to mess around with a combined 13 tackles between safety Cole Geiser (seven) and inside linebacker Marcus Cutsinger (six). Cutsinger also added a sack for a safety to the stat sheet earlier in the game.
“I have to credit the preparation all week. We did things in practice and had our bumps and battles, but overall we came out and we did our work,” Cutsinger said of the defense’s performance.
The success of the Indians was in part due to their knowledge that the Tigers like to execute handoffs and focus mainly on running the ball. The Indians did just that, only allowing Cape to have seven rushing yards on 28 attempts.
“This week it was a big testament that we had to stop their run game,” Cutsinger said. “We had to eliminate [Cape running backs] Za’aire [Thomas] and Keyshawn [Boyd] — that was a focal point, and we got after it.”
As for the second half of the game, the Indians showed compassion for the Tigers and slowed down the speed of the game. However, despite slowing things down, Jackson still managed to not allow a single score from the Tigers.
The reign of the Indians seems to be just beginning with the potential of the younger players on this team. Coach Nesbitt said on the topic, “We’re young in some spots and we have got some really important seniors. I think it’s a group that could be very special and we’re just trying to get better every single week.”
If for some reason you missed this epic rivalry, never fear, the Indians are hosting their matchup against the Sikeston Bulldogs (0-5, 0-2) this Friday night at The Pit. Should Jackson pull off a win over Sikeston, the Indians will be the SEMO North Conference Champions for the sixth year in a row.