It was a fairly simple plan. Stack the box and go after the ball carrier.
Instead of Capital City wearing down Jefferson City with its wing-T rushing attack, it worked the other way around with the defense wearing down the offense.
"Our goal is never a positive yard," Jefferson City defensive coordinator Jeff Jacques said after the Jays defeated the Cavaliers 36-0 Friday night at Adkins Stadium.
It's a lofty goal, but it's one the Jays accomplished in the second half.
Capital City was only stopped for no gain twice in the first half as quarterback Taggert Bodenstab, running back Ethan Wood and fullback Hurley Jacobs each gained at least 18 yards.
It was quite a different result in the second half.
With five players up on the line of scrimmage and three linebackers not far behind, Jefferson City pushed through Capital City's line and constantly swarmed the backs to force third-and-long situations.
Jefferson City coach Scott Bailey credited the Jays' starting offensive line of Brady Connell, Fred Wilson, Jacob Copeland, Baylen Farmer and Isaac Enloe for running the scout team offense during the week to prepare the defense for Capital City's blocking schemes.
"We could see where the weak spots were and then try to adjust from there as the week went along," Bailey said. "And we adjusted a few things based on what our scout offense showed us during the week. There's a defensive staff that said this is what we need to do to defend the play at the point of attack and then they give it to the scout offensive line and they practice it and ran their offense in practice pretty well."
The Cavaliers were in third-and-8 or longer on all four of their second-half drives, all ending in a three-and-out.
Linebacker Jacob Duke chased down Cavaliers quarterback Kaden Dassrath and swung him out of bounds to keep him three yards from the sticks on third down on the first drive of the second half.
Then it was middle linebacker Mario Mejia, who frequently lined up in a three-point stance opposite the center, making a play to stop Capital City's second drive.
He met Wood in the backfield for a 4-yard loss on third-and-8.
Capital City ran the ball 31 times for 76 yards, losing yardage on five of its 12 rushing attempts in the second half.
The Cavaliers had gained at least 300 yards on the ground the previous two weeks.
"We play team defense," Jacques said. "We don't have any superstars. Everybody plays together. Our backers just react to what the D-line's doing and our D-line keys the football. So it looks like we're blitzing but we're not, we're just keying the football and running to it."
Capital City's best play of the night came on the kickoff return prior to its next drive.
Wood ran through a crease in the coverage and used a stiff-arm to reach the Jays' 36-yard line.
Jefferson City's defense held strong, though, as Alex Millard subbed in for Mejia to make back-to-back tackles to turn the Cavaliers over on downs.
"That's part of what our culture is being a running football team and Jeff City took that away from us tonight," Capital City coach Shannon Jolley said.
Capital City did have its own defensive highlights in the second half.
Capital City outside linebacker Grayson Jones upended Jays running back David Bethune for a 3-yard loss on Jefferson City's first offensive play of the third quarter and defensive end Jeremiah White wrapped up Kevion Pendelton for a 5-yard loss on third down to force a punt.
The Jays punted three times in the second half.
"We had some good individual plays," Jolley said.
Jefferson City chugged along on offense in the first half to build a 29-0 lead.
Bethune had touchdown runs of 10, 46 and 59 yards on his way to 144 yards on just seven carries in the first 24 minutes. He finished with 182 yards on 13 carries.
The junior back also showed sportsmanship in the third quarter, helping an injured Cavalier off the field.
"When I coach kids like David, I just say he gets it," Bailey said. "I don't know how to explain it. He gets it. When you coach players that get it it's just really enjoyable."
Seth Brooks scored the other two touchdowns for the Jays, scoring from 3 yards out on the opening drive of the game and sneaking in from a yard out for the final touchdown of the game.
Bassil Ahmed made his fourth extra point after the quarterback sneak.
Pendelton, who ran for 86 yards on eight carries, ran in a 2-point conversion after Brooks' first score.
Next up for Jefferson City, 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the Central Missouri Activities Conference, is a game at Hickman (2-2, 2-1 CMAC). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Columbia. The Kewpies have defeated Capital City (52-27) and Sedalia Smith-Cotton (26-16) in their past two games.
Capital City (0-5, 0-4 CMAC) will face Helias (5-0, 3-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Adkins Stadium.