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Offense is perfect fit for Sikeston football team

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 ~ Updated 2:54 PM

(Photo)
Sikeston's Trey Lewis works on the option handoff with running back Darryl Howard as offensive coordinator Mark Jackson looks on during the summer. The practice has paid off as Sikeston is averaging 45.7 points per game this season. David Jenkins, Staff
SIKESTON -- Merging the Sikeston Bulldogs football team with offensive coordinator Mark Jackson has been the perfect fit.

Since he was brought on by Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs three seasons ago, Jackson's idea of the misdirection offense has yielded record-breaking numbers and has taken Sikeston football to heights never seen before.

"It was apparent to me, that after our first year here, that some of my ideas and what I was used to doing was not what we needed to be doing," Gibbs admitted. "We made the decision that we wanted to spread things out and take advantage of what, really, the good Lord has given us. In that regard, we made some phone calls and Mark (Jackson) was ready to make a move and we got him down here.

"Certainly, he's taken our offense to the next level."

Jackson, who graduated from Hayti and has coached at several schools, including with Gibbs at Fredericktown, chose an offense that best suited the players he would be inheriting.

"When I came down and me and coach Gibbs put this together, we wanted to have an offense that would fit our kids, fit our speed and fit our linemen," Jackson said. "On a typical year, we're not going to have linemen that drive people off the ball. But in this offense, they don't have to drive somebody every play. We're going to give them angles, we're going to do things to make our linemen be successful."

Jackson's offensive philosophy hems on one purpose -- slowing down the opposing defense.

"The way we do that is by reads," Jackson said. "We'll read somebody on most of our plays. Not all of them, but most. It's part of our offensive philosophy, to slow people down with misdirection and to put players in space."

Giving Sikeston's speedy weapons space has generated yet another prolific offense.

The Bulldogs (13-0) have scored 594 points for an average of 45.7 points per game. They've totaled over 6,000 yards of offense including 4,559 rushing yards. They also have an 8.3 per rush average.

Creating epic numbers such as those is about reading the defense. Quarterback Trey Lewis is a huge part of that.

"Trey's a lot smarter sometimes than he's given credit for," Gibbs said. "He knows the offense and he knows where people are and, just as importantly, where they're not. You take that and the fact that he does look at film, both offensively and defensively, and prepares himself to play.

"The quarterback's got to be one of those guys that knows a lot of things and he's been able to do that."

During certain plays, Lewis is given a read to look for. He then has to make a split second choice on what needs to be done with the ball depending on what the defense gives him.

"It's basically what the defense gives us and we're going to take it," said Lewis. "The way (the defense) play, we're going to react to it. We have good enough guys that we can beat them with our reads.

"(Coach Jackson) breaks down the films and tells us where they're going to line up at.

He gives us a good look out and does a really good job."

A lot goes into reading a defense. Jackson gives an example of Lewis' responsibilities.

"On our veer option, for instance, we're going to read the play side D-end," said Jackson. "If the play side 'd' end takes the running back, then we're going to pull it. If the play side D-end sits, then we're going to give it. Then of course, from there, we have a pitch option as well.

"We want the defense standing still, wondering where the football is. That gets our speed out in space."

Lewis and senior tailback Darryl Howard have excelled in Jackson's scheme. As a team, Sikeston has rushed for 64 touchdowns. Lewis has rushed for 24 touchdowns while Howard has 17.

"Our kids have done a wonderful job of making the reads," said Jackson. "There's been times where the defense has no idea where the ball is and Trey is standing in the end zone."

Learning how to read a play involves hours of watching game film. Players watch film with the coaches on Monday and are given game tapes to take home with them.

"Coach Jackson goes through a lot of tape," senior running back/linebacker Ray Clark said. "He makes sure he knows exactly where they will line up compared to us. He tries to run the plays that puts us in the best position to score touchdowns every time."

Speed has been a definite advantage for the Bulldogs. What Jackson's offense does is utilize their speed by giving them as much space as possible to operate. It fits Sikeston's personnel to a 'T.'

"When you have speed, and we've had it since I've been here, I think it fits Sikeston's kids in a typical year," said Jackson. "We're going to have a little bit of speed and we're going to have some linemen. And we've got kids that are coachable and will listen.

"It fits what we do."


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