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Jays football players show mothers what it's like to be on the team

Jays football players show mothers what it's like to be on the team

August 20th, 2013 in News

Millie Nelson (left) and her son, Charles, do jumping jacks during an exercise portion of Mom's Night for the Jefferson City Jays on Tuesday at Adkins Stadium. Mothers of the players wore their son's jerseys and participated in the drills and exercises the young men have been doing to prepare for the upcoming season.

Photo by Shaun Zimmerman

Through the grind and rigors of early-season practice, Jefferson City football coach Ted LePage admitted it can be easy for players to forget why they decided to play football.

Tuesday night at Adkins Stadium was a little reminder.

Jays players handed over their jerseys to their mothers to take part in Mom's Night, a nice distraction as the season opener looms.

"We're going through practices and we're having these three-hour practices and you're getting close to playing, so everybody is getting antsy, there's things going on," LePage said. "This is the time to sit back and go "This is why I love football.' Watching those guys out there with their moms and being able to laugh and have fun."

LePage estimated more than 60 moms took part in the event that allows mothers to get an inside look at what a typical practice session is like for their child.

The moms ran through drills with their sons ranging from pre-game warmups to blocking and passing, as well as offensive and defensive schemes.

While the moms were confused at times, one even saying a drill seemed more like "Ring Around the Rosie than football," there was an agreement the confusion was well worth it.

"It's funny, but at the same standpoint, (look at) the attention that they are paying," LePage said. "They're really paying attention to their son, they are really paying attention to the drill. They want to know what their kid finds so fascinating about this game."

The 30-minute session gave mothers a chance to really learn how intricate and difficult football can be.

"There's a lot going on, they have to know many things at numerous times," Cole Heidbreder's mother Dawn Nicklas said. "It's hard work."

Nicklas added: "You can't be a dummy to play football."

But more than the opportunity to learn was the chance for mothers to bond with their sons in a different setting.

"Hanging out with my son tonight, and teaching me all the things that he's been learning for the last four years," Gabe Marcantonio's mother Missy Bonnot said about her favorite moment of the night.

LePage said he got the idea for Mom's Night from a coaching clinic he attended in Arkansas a few years ago. He was a little unsure at first how it would work.

"They had some pictures of moms in jerseys running sprints," LePage said. "And I was like, "What the heck are you doing?'"

Something LePage said he has to remind his players about often during the season is no matter how competitive the game gets, it's still supposed to be fun. He was happy to see that on display.

"Sometimes we forget, the reason we started playing this game was three little letters," LePage said. "F-U-N."


Jefferson City is not taking part in a Jamboree this year, but will hold a scrimmage Friday at Adkins Stadium. The middle-school teams will get things started at 5 p.m., with the varsity to begin about 7 p.m. The Jays open the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 at McCluer North.