When Jefferson City needed a play Friday night against DeSmet, Gabe Marcantonio was there to answer the call.
The senior ran for a touchdown, threw for a score and kicked a key field goal in the fourth quarter as Jefferson City held on for an 18-16 victory at Adkins Stadium.
"When our guys needed to, we stepped up and made plays," Jefferson City head coach Ted LePage said. "Last week we didn't step up and make plays when we needed to. Tonight we did, and I think that was a big growth process for us."
Marcantonio had his hand in many of those plays.
He put the Jays up 7-0 with a 70-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
After DeSmet took a 9-7 lead late in the third quarter, Marcantonio led the Jays on a 10-play, 66-yard drive, capped off with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jake Pridgin. Marcantonio ran in the two-point conversion to put the Jays ahead 15-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
Zach Bond came up with an interception on the ensuing drive to put the Jays in field goal range again.
It turned out to be Marcantonio who would ice the game.
He put the Jays ahead 18-9 on a 35-yard field goal with 1:22 left.
After a pair of missed field goals earlier in the game, LePage said he mulled over going for it on fourth-and-short. But Marcantonio's first field-goal attempt of the season had plenty of room to spare.
Marcantonio was the field-goal kicker last season.
"I was a little nervous, but I was confident in myself I could make it," Marcantonio said.
DeSmet (2-3, No. 7 in Class 6) made things interesting in the final minute with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Scott Sinovich to Marcus Jester to make the score 18-16. But Rahem Moorman recovered the onside kick to secure the victory.
"A big win for us," LePage said.
Jefferson City's defense had a hand in the victory. The Jays allowed 311 yards, but Bond and Austin Holland had interceptions. The Spartans' first touchdown came after a 68-yard return gave the Spartans the ball on the Jefferson City 11. The other came on Jester's long reception.
DeSmet outgaind Jefferson City 311-273. Jester led the Spartans with 85 yards rushing on 18 carries.
But in a game that featured 15 punts, it was Marcantonio who came through in the clutch.
He finished with 120 yards passing and 81 yards rushing on 20 carries.
"This is a very big win for us," Marcantonio said. "We had to get this to kind of turn this around. Some people were starting to get a little bit of doubt in the locker room. Hopefully this will turn it around."
Jefferson City (3-2) plays again Friday night at Hickman.