Jays to meet Bruins for second straight contest (with PODCAST)
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Editor's Note: Follow News Tribune sports writer @adamstillman87 on Twitter for updates on scoring during Friday night's game.
Fancy seeing you again.
Jefferson City and Rock Bridge will square off for the second consecutive week. There’s a little more on the line this time around.
The third-seeded Jays (6-3) host the sixth-seeded Bruins (4-5) in the first round of the Class 6 District 3 Tournament at 7 p.m. Friday at Adkins Stadium.
“I don’t care if it’s anybody, you know what they do, they know what you do now,” Jefferson City head coach Ted LePage said, referencing the Jays’ 31-21 victory last Friday at Rock Bridge. “It’s a matter of can you do it better than they do, and can they do it better than you do? It’s going to be very difficult.
“We’ve had a great week of practice. They’re excited about playing them again.”
LePage is playing it close to the vest when it comes to balancing doing what worked best last week and changing the game plan to give Rock Bridge new looks.
“You have to look at who you are, and do that,” he said. “That’s what we’ve told our players. We have to do what we do and just do it better than what we’ve done it.”
“We’re tweaking some things because there are some things they did hurt us on. It’s a good and a bad. You look at it from a perspective of, ‘Yeah, they know what you do,’ but also now you know what they do a little bit better, so it helps you tighten yourself up a little bit better.”
LePage said it’s the first time in his coaching career his team has faced an opponent in back-to-back weeks, and believes the same can be said for the Jefferson City program.
“How do you want to be remembered, being the first team to do it?” LePage said of the challenge his players face.
LePage knows Rock Bridge will be hungry for revenge come Friday night.
“We know they’re a really explosive football team,” he said. “They have as good a group of receivers (Zach Reuter, Alex Ofodile and Antwon Turnage) and quarterback (Logan Twehous) as there is around. It’s going to be a big task.”
The positive for Jefferson City is the Jays did a solid job shutting down that aerial attack last week, holding Twehous to 18-of-35 passing for 178 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The junior signal-caller is 179-of-304 for 2,583 yards and 29 touchdowns to go with 12 interceptions on the season.
Reuter leads the Bruins with 954 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the year.
“It gives you confidence, but at the same time as a coach it gets you a little leery because you don’t want your players to think, ‘Oh, we did it, now it’s just old hat.’” LePage said. “We still have to go out and execute the game plans that we have.”
There’s a little uncertainly with the health status for both Twehous and Ofodile. Both exited last Friday’s ball game with injuries late in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. That’s something LePage isn’t concerned with.
“I’ve really made a point that we coach our players,” he said. “That’s not something we can control. We’re coaching our team and that’s all we worry about. If we start worrying about that kind of stuff our vision is going off of our goal, and our goal is to make our players better for Friday night.”
Karson Ringdahl would be the backup for Twehous, and he went 0-for-3 in his place last Friday, making him 1-for-5 on the season for 51 yards.
That’s all in the past now. It’s a new season. Win and advance, or lose and go home.
“It’s exciting, also it’s a sense of anxiety,” LePage said. “You can see a lot of players starting to get a little bit anxious because there is a light at the end of that tunnel, and everything is magnified.
“We have an energy level around the facility and the practice field, but at the same time there’s that little voice in the back of your mind saying, ‘Hey, don’t get too excited because we have to play every play as it’s our last.’ That’s how we approached it the first day of the season, that’s how we’re approaching it now. You never know when could be your last snap, so play this one as hard as you can.”
Notes: Jefferson City leads the all-time series 15-5. ... Paul Harris and Rayshawn Williams are back after missing last Friday’s game with injuries.
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