SIKESTON -- It won't be the first time the Sikeston Bulldogs have seen a pass-happy team on the other side of the field.
The Jackson Indians, who sport a 2-2 record this season, will be the next aerial test the state-ranked Bulldogs will face as they try and continue their undefeated year.
"(Jackson) throws the ball around a lot and they're going to complete some passes," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "We have to be able to make some plays in the open field and try to keep it in front of us."
The first passing attack the Bulldogs faced this season was from the Obion County Rebels in week one. The Rebels gouged Sikeston for 372 passing yards and two touchdown passes while giving up the second most points (34) that a Sikeston defense has given up in the last two years. The most belongs to Helias (37) in last year's Class 4 semifinal game where Helias quarterback Clint Distler drilled them for 198 yards and four scores through the air.
Jackson relies on senior quarterback Bobby Clark to run the spread offense for the Indians. Clark has completed 34-of-76 attempts for 481 yards. He has thrown three touchdowns and also two interceptions.
But, not only will Clark throw the ball, running back Ethan Ruch will take advantage of the running game as well.
Ruch leads the Indians with 368 yards this season and has been just as effective as the Indians' passing game. Which isn't lost on Gibbs.
"We'll have to play good pass defense and not give them the running game," said Gibbs. "We'd like to think that we have improved in pass defense."
Offensively, Jackson utilizes many different formations. They will line up in a trip set to one side which includes three wide receivers on one side of the field. Gibbs said they will also show a bit of a double formation as well as get in the I-formation and run the football for a change of pace.
Sikeston's defense, except for the Obion game, has limited teams to just 12 points in their last three games. They have also allowed just 270 yards in those same three games. It's an improvement that Gibbs likes to see, especially if his defense can possibly do a little bit more on defense
"One of the things that we need that would help us in pass defense is make interceptions when we can," Gibbs said. "We dropped about three against Obion. When you get a passing team and if you can get a couple of turnovers, all of a sudden, they might start making some adjustments and doing things that they might not like to do.
"Certainly, we have to be concerned with them throwing the ball."
Although the Sikeston offensive has been one of the more potent ones in the area averaging 42.5 points per game, Gibbs feels that over the last few games his offense has not began the first quarter with the same intensity that's been shown for the remainder of the game.
"One of the things that I'd like to see us do is start a little quicker, offensively" said Gibbs. "It seems like the last couple of weeks we'd come out with a dead-legged look or a slow start to the game."
It goes hand-in-hand with the consistency Gibbs and the rest of the Bulldog coaching staff has been striving for from day one.
"We're still hunting for consistency," said Gibbs. "Consistency means, playing up to your ability for four quarters. Offensively, I don't think we've done that. We have to get to a point where we're not hunting and pecking, and we don't have to create plays."
Sikeston will be looking for their second consecutive win against Jackson, which hasn't happened since winning three straight from 1990-1992. They will have to do it without starting safety Keldon Warfield who will be out for the next three weeks due to surgery on his leg.