After turning the ball over 11 times in two of its first three games during a 1
-2 start, the Indians had none in a near-flawless performance in beating SEMO North rival Sikeston 42-0 on Friday night at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium.
In 90 meetings, it's the worst loss Jackson has ever handed the Bulldogs.
"They whipped us," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "That's as honest as I can be. They just whipped us."
Sikeston is now 0-4 for the second straight year marking the second time in school history that has happened.
"I know Dement is really disappointed because I know he had a really tough week with his kids," said Jackson coach Carl Gross. "But the thing about it is we just happened to play by far our best football game of the year. Maybe getting us out of town is good for us. I don't know. Maybe having them on the school bus helps get us focused."
The Indians' focus was evident as they executed nearly every play with precision -- of their 43 offensive plays, only three were for lost yardage. Junior quarterback Rex Meyr completed 6-of-9 passes for 102 yards including scoring strikes to Alex Austin and Cameron Heath for 34 and 24 yards, respectively.
The Indians totaled 290 offensively yards, a statistic that could've been much higher had it not been for three lost fumbles by Sikeston in its own territory, which only served to shorten the field for the Indians.
All three times Jackson took advantage with short scoring drives of 24, 10 and 13 yards. Jackson also had a scoring drive of 44 yards after a punt.
Sikeston actually seized control of the game in the early going as they recovered a failed onside kick by the Indians to start the game.
A 32-yard pass from Bulldog quarterback Chase Ferrell to junior wideout Julian Beard put Sikeston scoring position. They got as close as the 5-yard line before a procedure penalty backed them up.
They ended up settling for a 25-yard field goal but it was wide left.
The Bulldogs didn't cross the 50-yard line the rest of the night.
Jackson then took its opening drive and marched 80 yards on 14 plays capped by Penrod's 1-yard plunge for the score.
Following a Bulldog fumble in the second quarter, Penrod scored on a 24-
yard run with 8:43 left in the first half.
Grant Ressel, who was 6-for-6 on extra points, made it 14-0 with the PAT.
After another Bulldog fumble at the 10-yard line, Penrod scored on a 3-yard run.
The Indians made it 28-0 at halftime when Meyr hit a wide open Austin down the middle of the field for a 34-yard TD.
The Indians enforced the mercy rule on its opening drive of the second half when Meyr found Heath for a 24-yard play to make it 35-0.
After a Sikeston fumble in the third quarter at the 13-yard line, Steve Begemann scored on an 8-yard run to round out the scoring.
The Jackson (2-2) defense stifled Sikeston's offense, holding them to 64 total yards, including zero rushing yards -- both season-lows for the Bulldogs.
"Our linebackers are veterans," said Gross. "All five of them are the experience of our football team. Tonight we just put it together. We swarmed them and it looked like we were playing with 14 guys a couple times. This week we turned our intensity level up significantly."
The Indians held Bulldog leading rusher Acie Dixon to three yards on five carries.
"Watching them against Dexter and Charleston on the two films we had, I knew Acie Dixon was going to be a handful for us," said Gross. "We came in knowing that and we made sure we knew where big No. 27 was. The tailback (Michael Geralds) scared us because of his speed. He got on the edge a couple times and we were just lucky enough to be able to close it."
Geralds was held to nine yards on five carries.
Ferrell was harassed all night and was sacked four times. Although when he did get time to throw, he completed 6-of-11 for 64 yards.
"The story was us not maintaining anything offensively," said Dement. "That's the main thing. We couldn't get in any rhythm because we couldn't establish a run game and that takes the play-action pass away. Chase had an off-night throwing, but he was also throwing under pressure."
While Sikeston did allow 42 points, Dement was pleased that his defense showed improvement from last week's performance against Dexter.
"I actually thought we played a little better defensively than we did last week," said Dement. "They scored more points because we gave them a lot shorter field to work with. Our young kids played nervous and they played tight. They didn't play well. That happens sometimes. We had a bad game offensively and we weren't as bad defensively because we hit better and had more intensity. But overall we're just not playing well. That's my responsibility. That's something I have to fix and something we'll attempt to do every day."
Jackson has now defeated Sikeston in six of the last seven meetings and eight out of the last 10.
"Things are going to get better for coach Dement down here," said Gross. "He's a good football coach and I hope his kids buy into what he's trying to get them to do."
Sikeston will travel to Farmington next Friday while Jackson will play at Jefferson City.