The Jackson Ironmen continue their two-game road trip, as they will travel to Mt. Orab to take on Western Brown Friday at 7 p.m. in a non-conference game.
Jackson (3-0) is 13th in the first AP state-wide poll in Division III and is unofficially third in Division III, Region 11 of the OHSAA computer rankings, according to joeeitel.com. The official computer rankings begin on Friday and will be posted on the ohsaa.org website every Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a win against Western Brown (1-2) would pick up some valuable playoff points for Jackson, with Wheelersburg, a Division V powerhouse coming into Alumni Stadium next week.
In the first ever meeting between the two schools last season, the Ironmen were clinging to a slim 31-27 lead at the end of three quarters.
Jackson, however, took total control in the final 12-minutes of action, coming up with three interceptions and a forced fumble that turned into 21 unanswered points en route to 52-27 win.
"It was a shootout," Jackson head coach Andy Hall said about last year's meeting. "It was 14-all at the end of the first quarter. We couldn't stop them and they couldn't stop us.
"In the second half we caused some turnovers and we were able to extend the lead on them and put it away at the end. But you never felt comfortable because they could score at any point and time."
The Ironmen's biggest win, in terms of points this season was against county-rival Wellston (2-1), 35-0. The Rockets are currently 11th in Division V, Region 19.
Jackson defeated former SEOAL rival Gallia Academy 34-0 last week, as Blake McCoy scored three touchdowns and Reid Evans had two.
The Ironmen rely heavily on the run, as they have rushed for 978 yards this season and are averaging of 326 rushing yards per game.
More importantly, the defense has held opponents scoreless in two of their first three games, giving up only one touchdown in 12 quarters, that coming in a 31-7 win over Fairfield Union in the second week of the season.
Against Gallia Academy last week, the Ironmen limited the Blue Devils to just 125 yards in total offense, including 19 yards rushing.
"I thought in the first half, we didn't play well defensively," Hall said. "We just didn't play with a lot of energy. We didn't get a lot of guys to the football and we gave up three third down conversions and one fourth down conversion.
"I thought we played with a lot more intensity in the second half and we got to the ball. When you look at the final stats, it's hard to complain but it seems like it was so much more. They lost so many yards late in the game on quarterback sacks. So in the first three weeks, when you look at the total amount of work, we've done a pretty good job."
Defensive coordinator Larry Hall's stingy unit will need to keep things up against the heavy passing game of Western Brown this week.
Western Brown is coming off its first win, 22-21 over Ross, where junior quarterback Ross Taylor threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, completing 30 of 45 pass attempts in the game.
Taylor also led the Broncos on the ground, as he rushed for 105 yards on 17 carries.
"If you look at their stats, they give up a lot of points, but they score a lot of points," said Hall. "The key to their offense is Wyatt Fisher, who has 28 catches for 361 yards in three games. He is a verbal commitment to Ohio State as a preferred walk on. He is very dynamic and they like to involve him in the run game, as well as the pass game.
"The quarterback (Josh Taylor) leads them in rushing and of course in passing. He is 40 of 57 on the season, which is a great completion percentage. He likes to get rid of the ball quickly to his receivers in space. They have very good athletes and they try to get the ball out to them as quick as possible and make plays."
Fisher led the receiving corps last week with 13 catches for 130 yards, while Josh Fry added 10 receptions for 93 yards and Keagan Collins had five catches for 68 yards.
Western Brown's two losses this season came against Hillsboro 55-34 in the season-opener, followed by a 32-0 setback against Little Miami the following week.
Coach Hall feels the keys to this week's game starts on the defensive side of the ball.
"We have to play better defense and gang tackle better," he said. "That has been the emphasis of our practices this week, getting back to the basics and running to the football. Offensively, we have to again control the line of scrimmage and be able to run the football. They (Western Brown) can't score if their offense isn't on the football field.
"Up to this point, we've been able to control the clock and we've done a good job of not turning the ball over. But keeping their high powered offense off the field is going to be the key for us."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be heard live on 96.7 WKOV-FM with Dan Dobbins, Dan Morrow and Pete Wilson calling the action.