Jackson football has unfinished business, aspirations of second state title in three years

JACKSON, Mo. (KBSI) – The Jackson High School football team has reached two state championship games in the last three years and won the state title in 2020. Sandwiching those two state title appearances is an 11-1 season in 2018 and a 12-1 campaign with an appearance in the semifinals in 2021.

With all that success, head coach Brent Eckley knows his team has a target on its back.  

“When we get done with the season, we know that there’s going to be opponents that will circle that date [when they play Jackson] on their calendar, and that’s okay, but we feel like when teams do that, they put more pressure on themselves at playing great in that game,” he said. “We don’t necessarily have those same circles. We just want to focus on playing as well as we possibly can, and hopefully we’ve prepared well enough to be in the right position at the end.”

Senior running back Tony Williams said the mental approach is the same no matter the opponent. 

“We just play every team like it’s the best team we’ve ever played with all our effort, take no team lightly,” he said. “Even if we’re up by many points, we still keep our foot on their necks and keep going.” 

The Indians begin their season on Friday when they face Edwardsville at home.

Eckley said the team is relishing in the fact that there is finally a game to look forward to at the end of this week. 

“That’s what’s special about football is that there is so much work involved,” he said. “The work and preparation to game ratio is so high, it just makes the games special. Our kids value that and it seems like they’re super excited to play.” 

There has been a quarterback competition throughout camp between Adrian Fox and Zach Calder.

Eckley said both players bring something to the table that can help the Indians win games.

“Our guys kind of have differing styles, differing abilities and experiences,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to have just one quarterback, but in the grand scheme of things, I feel like both of those guys can help us win, so we’ve just got to do a good enough job of putting the right guy in the right situation to be able to be successful.”

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