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story.lead_photo.caption In this 2017 photo, Rifle football coach Damon Wells speaks to players after a Class 3 Colorado High School Activities Association playoff game against Palmer Ridge in Rifle, Colo. Photo by Chelsea Self, Post Independent

The Jefferson City Jays have hired their third head football coach since 2018.

Damon Wells, who's been a head coach at Rifle High School in Colorado for 13 seasons, was announced as the Jays' head coach Tuesday.

Wells takes over for Scott Bailey, who coached the Jays to a 3-7 record in his one season with the team.

Wells will also serve as the activities director for Jefferson City, replacing Chad Rizner. Rizner announced in the fall he would be stepping away from the role to teach social studies. 

"As a longtime coach, teacher and administrator, I'm excited to bring a unique set of skills, passion and experience to Jefferson City High School as its AD and head football coach," Wells said in a release. "I know firsthand how a football team is a major source of pride and excitement not only for the high school, but the community at-large. I look forward to leading Jays football, which has a meaningful history, and ensuring student success on and off the field."

Terry Walker coached the previous two seasons, with Jefferson City going 6-14 in that span.

Wells has coached at Rifle for the past 10 seasons, leading the Bears to Class 3A state championship games in 2012 and 2014.

Wells, who was also the school's athletic director and assistant principal, began coaching at Rifle in 2000 as an assistant, winning the 3A state title in 2004 as the team's defensive coordinator.

The Bears made it back to the state title game the next season with Wells as the head coach.

Wells resigned in 2008, got back on the staff as defensive coordinator in 2009 and took over as head coach in 2010.

Rifle has gone 118-35 with Wells as the head coach.

"We are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our top candidate, who will bring a wide range of experience to JCHS," said Ehren Earleywine, Jefferson City School District activities director. "In addition to his coaching credentials, Damon Wells' background as an assistant principal and athletics director will ensure he is well-positioned to step into a leadership role for our activities program." 

Jefferson City is coming off its first season in the Central Missouri Activities Conference, finishing 3-3 in conference play with wins against Sedalia Smith-Cotton, Capital City and Hickman.

Jefferson City dropped from Class 6 to Class 5 this past season, earning a home postseason game after being seeded fourth in District 4.

The Jays' season ended with a 42-36 defeat against No. 5 seed Camdenton at Adkins Stadium.


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