The stakes don't get any higher for the Jays or Kewpies. It's win or go home.
Jefferson City travels Friday night to Hickman with a playoff berth and bragging rights on the line.
"To us right now, it's not only Hickman, but it's a much bigger goal than that," Jays head coach Ted LePage said as his team prepares for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Columbia. "This is a must win for us and it's a much win for them."
The Jays find themselves fighting for their playoff lives thanks to last week's 49-21 home loss to Fort Zumwalt West. Unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Class 6, the Jays fell behind by 19 points at halftime and never recovered against the Jaguars.
The loss was puzzling as the Jays had not trailed all season and had allowed just 83 points in the previous eight games.
"I think we panicked a little bit, both sides of the ball, even special teams," LePage said.
A little good news for Jefferson City's defense is it won't see the explosive offense it saw last week.
A common theme for the Kewpies this season in their losses has been a stagnant offense. Hickman has been shutout twice and has failed to score 20 points in four games this season. For the season, Hickman is averaging just 18 points per game.
While the Jays (8-1, No. 4 in Class 6) are coming off their only blemish of the season, the Kewpies (4-5) have shown improvement in the last few weeks. With a greater emphasis on running the ball in the second half of the season, the Kewpies enter Friday's game having won two of three after a three-game losing streak midway through the season.