Jays look to continue to improve vs. Gateway Tech (with PODCAST)
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Jefferson City turned back the clock in Friday’s 40-33 win against Hickman.
But that doesn’t mean the Jays are about to change what has been successful this season.
The Jays (4-2, No. 7 in Class 6) had their best offensive performance of the season with 475 yards and two long touchdown runs that led to a comeback victory. And while that formula worked the last several seasons for the Jays, this year’s team has been more of a grind-it-out-style team. And one game isn’t going to change Jefferson City’s identity.
“Each week it seems like we’re getting stronger in every area,” Jefferson City head coach Ted LePage said. “When we see a weakness, the best thing about it is our players are accepting weakness and saying we’ve got to shore that up.
“Can we win a game with offense? No. We’ve got to win a game with offense, we’ve got to win a game with defense, we’ve got to win a game with special teams. All three of our areas need to be on for us to win games.”
Rayshawn Williams saved the day for the Jays with a 60-yard touchdown run in the final minute to put the Jays ahead. In the first quarter, it was Gabe Marcantonio showing off his big-play capability with his legs on a 77-yard touchdown run.
Those were two of Jefferson City’s three longest offensive runs of the season.
The big plays were reminiscent of the last two seasons when Jefferson City’s success relied on two or three big plays per game when they averaged 28 points per game in 2012 and 36 points per game in 2011.
Willliams averaged 20 yards per carry against Hickman, the second highest for a single player in Jays history.
“The thing I think showed its head this week was our big play capability,” LePage said.
But it’s been defense and special teams that has gotten Jefferson City to its 4-2 record this season. Coming into the game against Hickman the Jays had been allowing just 20 points per game. That style of play has meant plenty of close games. All six games have come down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
“What’s impressed me all year, it’s never over until it’s over,” LePage said. “Our players are resilient. They stick up, they fight, they scratch, they crawl. It was a fun, fun game from a standpoint of being a spectator. From a coach, it was one of those games your stomach just keeps rumbling the whole time.
“After they scored to go up, there was no panic. I think that’s the biggest thing I saw. We are going to continue to stay the course no matter what happens in the game.”
Friday’s game against Gateway Tech has a classic trap-game feel for the Jays. Jefferson City is coming off an emotional victory against a rival, and has another rival in Rockhurst coming to Adkins Stadium next week.
The Jaguars enter Friday’s game with a 2-4 record that includes a loss to Vashon. Vashon lost earlier this season to Helias 77-6. Running back Zach McBride leads the Jaguars with six touchdowns.
“I don’t think it’s a trap game, our players understand we’re 4-2. It’s not like we’re 6-0 or ranked No. 1 in the state,” LePage said. “We’re a 4-2 football team and we’ve got to get better each week and we know that and this is an opportunity for us to play.”
Sophomore kicker J.T. Bohlken will miss the rest of the season after suffering a dislocated ankle and broken bones on his non-kicking (left) leg during a JV game Monday.
Marcantonio, who is 1-for-1 on field goals this year and was the kicker last season, will assume field goal and extra point duties.
LePage said Bohlken’s surgery was successful and he is expected to make a full recovery.
“Gabe has the confidence that we know will get us through,” LePage said. “It was nice to have that component that took something off of Gabe’s plate.”
Notes: Gateway Tech’s two wins were against Sumner (13-7) and Roosevelt (41-7). Those two teams have a combined 2-9 record. Its other losses were to Riverview Gardens (34-8), Miller Career (28-22) and Battle (45-7). ... Jefferson City defeated Gateway Tech 56-21 last season in the school’s only previous meeting. ... Jefferson City has won six straight Homecoming games.
Check for the special Jays Homecoming section in the News Tribune for Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013.
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