O'FALLON, Mo. — On Friday night the Fort Zumwalt North Panthers will host the 2019 Class 5 runner-up Jackson Indians in the Class 5 state semifinal game.
This is Fort Zumwalt North’s fourth semifinal appearance in five years. The Panthers were eliminated from the semis in 2019 by Carthage, who then edged Jackson in the championship.
The Indians are led by quarterback Cael Welker whose 544 total passing yards this season have helped contribute to Jackson’s offense, which is averaging 57 points per game.
Jackson has been held to less than 50 points only twice this season. In both of those games, they scored 49 points.
Fort Zumwalt North head football coach Joe Bacon said containing Jackson’s offense will be their toughest challenge yet and their focus heading into the game.
The Panthers have offensive threats of their own led by senior quarterback Jack Newcomb, and senior running backs Chris Futrell and Tyler Oakes, who have combined for 47 touchdowns in 2020.
Fort Zumwalt North has only lost one game this fall, which came in week one to Battle High School. The Panthers defeated Battle last week in the state quarterfinal game to advance to the semis.
Bacon said they’ve adjusted their mindset, and are prepared for their biggest game yet.
“So for a while now, we’ve been talking about just being 1-0,” Bacon said.
“And it’s not about what happened last week, or what might happen next week, but it’s really just about this game that’s right in front of us. So, I feel like the kids have pretty much taken that message to heart, and it’s about locking in and seeing what we can do for two-and-a-half hours on this Friday night.”