Jefferson City beats Rock Bridge 31-21

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Jefferson City Jays controlled their own destiny Friday night.

The Jays took care of business with a 31-21 victory against Rock Bridge at Wayne Sells Family Field, guaranteeing at least one playoff game at the friendly confines of Adkins Stadium.

“It’s a huge win for us, mostly because we get to play another game at home,” Jefferson City quarterback Gabe Marcantonio said. “Always to beat Rock Bridge is a great feeling. They’re a great team, but we just had a better game tonight.”

Jefferson City jumped on top when Elijah Pittman busted up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown run that put the Jays ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.

The lead ballooned to 14-0 when Marcantonio connected with Jake Pridgin for a 55-yard touchdown pass nine seconds into the second quarter.

Rock Bridge got on the scoreboard with a 5-yard fade pass from Logan Twehous to Zach Reuter on a fourth-and-goal situation. That made it 14-7 midway through the second quarter.

Jefferson City responded the very next drive as Marcantonio plunged into the end zone from a yard out to cap a 10-play, 42-yard drive to make the score 21-7.

The score remained that way at halftime thanks to a last-minute interception from Isaiah McBride that thwarted a Rock Bridge drive.

Rock Bridge took advantage of a Jefferson City miscue to get within one possession again. After the Jays forced a Rock Bridge punt, the kick bounced off the turf and struck a Jefferson City player, allowing the Bruins to pounce on the ball just 22 yards from the end zone.

It took another fourth-down strike for the Bruins, as Twehous hit Alex Ofodile for a 17-yard pass across the middle to make it 21-14 late in the third period.

The Jays responded immediately once again, as Pittman scampered 30 yards for a score 36 seconds into the fourth quarter to put the Jays up 28-14.

“That is a team goal. If we give up an adverse situation, it’s to come back and score on the other team,” Jefferson City head coach Ted LePage said. “Offensively, that was a big plus for us.”

Rock Bridge didn’t go quietly, putting together a nine-play, 92-yard drive capped by a 21-yard run from Twehous to get the Bruins within 28-21 with 7:14 left in the game.

Sticking with the same theme, Jefferson City took the momentum right back with a score on its next possession, as the jack-of-all-trades Marcantonio booted a 27-yard field goal with 2:14 remaining.

Rock Bridge drove all the way to the Jefferson City 7-yard line, but couldn’t find the end zone, sealing Jefferson City’s victory.

Jefferson City racked up 274 yards, with 194 of them coming on the ground. Pittman led the way with 17 carries for 113 yards. Marcantonio had 25 rushes for 79 yards, while completing 7-of-12 passes for 80 yards.

Rock Bridge amassed 325 yards, with 147 of them coming on the ground. Twehous led the way with 21 carries for 91 yards, while completing 18-of-35 passes for 178 yards and an interception.

Jefferson City (6-3) will have a rematch with Rock Bridge (4-5) in the first round of the playoffs.

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