HANNIBAL — Jays coach Damon Wells said during the week a team experiences the most improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, but it was another struggle for the Jefferson City football team.
Against an overpowering Hannibal team that dispatched Jefferson City's in-town rival Helias 54-20 a week earlier, the Jays had just as much trouble in a 40-13 loss Friday night at Porter Stadium.
"I'm going to give all the credit in the world to Hannibal," Wells said. "They have a very good football team. They play hard and they play physical. They have very good coaches and they have a great scheme."
The Pirates got out to a quick 7-0 lead after a Jays three-and-out set up a 9-yard run by Aneyas Williams with 8:36 left in the opening quarter.
That was only the beginning for Williams, who added two more scores in the third quarter, finishing with three touchdowns on his 14 touches. He terrorized the Jays in multiple phases of the game with multiple kickoffs for touchbacks, but his most important play in that phase was catching them off guard with an onside kick that bounced up perfectly for one of his teammates to pounce on just a minute into the third quarter.
Two plays later, Williams took a 26-yard carry to the end zone, giving the Pirates 14 points in 18 seconds after Courtland Watson scored on a 27-yard keeper with 11:10 left in the quarter.
Williams juked multiple Jays defenders into the fresh Porter field turf that was installed over the summer on his 54-yard score in the fourth, zigzagging through the defense and breaking tackles to give Hannibal a 34-0 lead with 4:18 left in the third.
Pirates tight end Kaiser Greenwell got a red-zone carry and scored from 12 yards out to increase the lead to 40 with 11:42 left in the fourth.
From that point on the Pirates rotated some of their backups and the Jays took advantage. David Bethune took his last two carries for scores of 78 and 54 yards, respectively to make the final score 40-13.
He was finally given some space to show his speed as he got to the outside before leaving the opposing defense in his wake and outrunning defenders down the left sideline each time.
The Jays had an opportunity to get back in the game when Bethune picked off a Watson pass and took it back 38-yards for a score late in the second quarter, but a block in the back took a score away that would have brought the Jays within one possession before halftime. Instead, the team came up with another empty possession after a fumble three plays later.
Jefferson City continued its struggles with turnovers with an interception and two fumbles, but the defense's ability to create turnovers and take advantage of the Pirates' mistakes kept a bad result from being worse. The Jays recovered three of Hannibal's five fumbles to go with Bethune's interception.
Jefferson City returns to Adkins Stadium for its CMAC opener next Friday night against 1-1 Rock Bridge. The Bruins beat Smith-Cotton 50-0 on Friday.
"We play a Class 6 school next week so it doesn't get any easier," Wells said.