Jays total five interceptions in shutout of McCluer North

Jefferson City running back Elijah Pittman keeps his eyes on the goal line as he bowls over McCluer North’s Robert Pattin to put the Jays on the board in the second quarter of Friday night’s game at Adkins Stadium.

Jefferson City running back Elijah Pittman keeps his eyes on the goal line as he bowls over McCluer North’s Robert Pattin to put the Jays on the board in the second quarter of Friday night’s game at Adkins Stadium. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The Jefferson City Jays knew the McCluer North Stars liked to throw the deep ball.

The Jays didn’t have any issues defending it.

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Josh Hall reports

Follow News Tribune sports writer Josh Hall on Twitter for updates during games.

Jefferson City recorded five interceptions and held off the Stars for a 17-0 win Friday night in the season opener at Adkins Stadium.

“Any time you win a game, it’s going to be pretty special,” Jefferson City coach Ted LePage said. “We’re excited about the win. We know that we’ve got a lot of work in front of us, but we’ll go to work (today) and come back with a smile on our face because right now we’re 1-0.”

Elijah Pittman and Isaac Roling both ran for touchdowns, while J.T. Bohlken connected with a 47-yard field goal to lead the attack for Jefferson City (1-0), which finished with 277 yards of total offense.

“I think we had some really good drives, but we just were not finishing,” LePage said. “I don’t know if we weren’t finishing on our approach to it.”

Zach Bond hauled in two interceptions — both in the first quarter — while Isaac Morleland, Izaya Sands and Austin Gerloff each added one pick for the Jays defense.

“We’re really excited about that,” LePage said. “I was just talking to our defensive coaches and we had six (interceptions) all of last year. That means our kids have paid the price and have listened to the coaches. We’re just really, really impressed with the way they attacked the football tonight.

“When the ball was in the air, a lot of times, our guys were going after it harder than their guys were. I was really excited about that.”

McCluer North (0-1) was limited to 172 yards of total offense and seven first downs. Stars quarterback Urics King completed 11-of-39 passes for 90 yards. His longest was a 58-yard completion as time expired in the second quarter.

Pittman led the ground attack for the Jays, rushing for 100 yards on 26 carries. The senior scored on a 1-yard run with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter to give Jefferson City a 7-0 lead.

Jacob Gourley made it a little easier on Pittman when he recovered a fumble just shy of the goal line following a Jays’ punt.

Bohlken missed a field-goal attempt from 52 yards out, but the Stars were penalized for running into the kicker, giving the Jays’ junior another chance, which he took advantage of.

Roling added a 9-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left in the third after hitting Ripken Dodson with a 33-yard pass to put Jefferson City in the red zone.

“It was a good tempo drive,” LePage said. “It was well-schemed at halftime, we came out and just executed. The players did what they were supposed to do.”

Making his first start at quarterback, Roling completed 7-of-17 passes for 116 yards and had eight carries for 15 yards.

Denzel Wilson helped add to the offensive attack for the Jays, who lost two fumbles, with 47 yards rushing on 11 carries. Dodson had two catches for 37 yards, while Jake Pridgin had one catch for 16 yards.

Ryan Wilkins led the ground attack for McCluer North with 79 yards on 16 carries.

Follow News Tribune sports writer Josh Hall on Twitter for updates during games.

Related:

Missouri high school football scores for Aug. 22, 2014

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