The Jefferson City Jays put themselves in the position they wanted to be in Friday night.
They were gaining a few yards at a time on first and second down, converting third and fourth downs and putting points on the board to keep up with the play-making Battle offense.
Then the Spartans scored as time expired in the first half to take the lead and the Jays turned the ball over on downs on all four of their second-half possessions.
Meanwhile, Battle running back Gerry Marteen chugged right along and the Spartans pulled away for a 39-21 win at Adkins Stadium.
"As a coach, you just wish you got a do-over," Jefferson City coach Scott Bailey said.
What Bailey would like to have back is an option toss to running back David Bethune that lost 5 yards as the ball bounced out of bounds.
It was on a first-and-10 at the Battle 34 on the Jays' first possession of the second half. Two 3-yard runs and an incomplete pass on fourth-and-long followed.
The chance to take the lead back was gone.
"If I had a mulligan on it again I would have went back to one of our basic dive plays that had been working so well and stuck with it longer," Bailey said. "It wasn't that I lost patience, it was I thought we saw something that we thought we could take advantage of and it ended up putting us behind the chains and we couldn't catch up to it."
The Spartans struck quickly after that.
On third-and-3, Marteen was halted after running into a teammate but cut back to the right side of the field and made it all the way to the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown for a 32-21 lead about midway through the third quarter.
Battle scored the final points of the game on its next drive when Manny Chiteri got behind the Jefferson City defense and caught a pass from Khaleel Dampier for a 57-yard touchdown.
The extra point made it 39-21 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
"We had a different coverage in and just was a little aggressive on the run," Jefferson City defensive coordinator Jeff Jacques said. "They did a nice job taking a shot at the right opportunity."
Jefferson City scored on the first play of the game when Bethune shook off cornerback Marteen and ran down the sideline for a 69-yard score.
Bassil Ahmed made the first of his three extra points for a 7-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.
Bailey couldn't recall if his team has ever scored on the first play of the game before.
"I'd have to think back," Bailey said. "I haven't thought about it. Nice to see the run play break open and David show his speed."
Battle answered as Marteen burst through a hole and broke tackles for a 29-yard gain on third-and-10 and scored from 25 yards out four plays later on first-and-22.
"We knew they were going to be big and physical," Jacques said. "Their O-line just controlled us in the trenches. We were throwing everything and the kitchen sink at them and still couldn't stop them."
Marteen added a 6-yard touchdown run, and receiver Tommy Atherton scored touchdowns of 12 and 6 yards on option plays.
Jays fullback Jacob Duke had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs.
The first came on the fifth play of a drive that started on the Battle 16 thanks to Duke recovering a fumble.
"That would have been nice a week ago when our defense was counting takeaways by the dozen," Bailey said.
The second touchdown for Duke came a play after Devin White leaped above a Battle defensive back and made a one-armed catch on a 21-yard pass from Seth Brooks.
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Battle (5-1) improved to 3-1 in the Central Missouri Activities Conference with the victory and remained in the No. 2 spot in the Class 5 District 4 standings behind Washington (6-1).
The Spartans will travel to Hannibal to take on the Pirates on Friday.
Jefferson City (3-5) will finish the season with a 3-3 record in the conference.
The Jays maintained the No. 4 spot in the district standings behind Rolla (3-3) and ahead of Camdenton (3-4) and Capital City (0-6).
Jefferson City will host Fort Zumwalt West (2-6) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Adkins Stadium to conclude the regular season.
The Jaguars defeated Troy-Buchanan 28-16 on Friday for their second straight win.