COLUMBIA — Hickman week always means a little more for the Jefferson City Jays.
That's showed for the past seven years with the Jays getting the upper hand against the Kewpies eight straight times the teams have met, including Friday night's 23-8 outcome.
T-shirts to commemorate the 700th victory for the Jays football program were packed and ready. And once Jays running back David Bethune, who burst, cut and powered his way to 141 rushing yards on 20 carries, scored from 3 yards out with 2:46 left before halftime for the first points of the game, the lead was never in danger.
It was evident those shirts wouldn't make the trip back home in boxes.
"It's no secret that the Jays and Kewpies, this is our biggest rival of the year," said Jays defensive end Tyler Johnston, who sacked Hickman's elusive quarterback Jeaven Brown twice. "I think that definitely added to it. This was just our week. That added in with the rivalry, we just all really came together this week, and we all really decided that we really wanted to win and play good this week."
Hickman only crossed the 50-yard line three times Friday, with one trip to the red zone.
Four second-half sacks and a stiff front against the run led that cause.
Down 14-0, the Kewpies began the second half with a handoff to Felix Pippenger that gained 9 yards and a Brown run for 2 yards and a first down.
Hickman (1-2) had two first downs the rest of the game.
After cornerback Darrell Jones and safety Alex Currens broke up a deep pass, the Jays stuffed Pippenger for no gain and Johnston brought down Brown for a 16-yard loss.
"All respect to him, I was able to make a few plays on him, make a couple sacks, make a couple TFLs," Johnston said. "And it was all credit to the D-line and the defense.
"We really all came together as a huge team effort. We really prepared well, we all just came together as a team this week to make all those plays."
An 11-yard punt followed, helping set up a 26-yard field goal for Ben Folz to extend the lead to 17-0 with 8:09 left in the third quarter.
The Kewpies' lone play of more than 25 yards set up their only points of the night.
Brown found space to the left, cut right to the sideline and cut back inside for a few more yards on a 64-yard gain.
Brown ran it in from 3 yards out and added the 2-point conversion to cut it to 17-8 with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
"Very pleased with the defense and how we, for the most part, contained a pretty explosive quarterback," Jays coach Terry Walker said. "Obviously I don't like the play where we had several missed tackles. And then at the end of the game, I thought we were a little bit sloppy tackling, but the kids played hard and the results kind of speak for themselves."
The Jays held Brown to 54 yards on 14 rushing attempts, half of them for losses.
Jefferson City's offense took over following that touchdown, using up nearly 10 minutes of the clock on a 14-play, 77-yard touchdown drive.
Bethune accounted for 34 of those yards on seven carries.
Quarterback Cole Gresham bulled through the Kewpies for a 10-yard gain on a sneak on third-and-1 from the Kewpie 46 and converted a fourth-and-1 with a sneak inside the 5.
Gresham finished it off by making it to the outside and reaching the ball over the pylon for a 3-yard touchdown to close out the game's scoring with 6:25 left.
Gresham gained 60 of the Jays' 283 yards on the ground on 16 of the team's 46 rushing attempts.
"There were drives where we were getting 5, 6, 7, you know, 10, 12 yards at a chunk," Walker said. "And anytime you're doing that, you're feeling really comfortable.
"Now, there were a couple times where we got behind the sticks and we didn't execute real well in the passing game. We'll take a look at that and look to improve there, but the kids had a good solid game."
Gresham finished 5-of-17 passing for 87 yards with a 10-yard touchdown to Devin White for a 14-0 lead just before halftime.
Jones led the Jays in receiving with three catches for 73 yards, including a 46-yard reception on the Jays' first scoring drive.
Jefferson City (2-1) will go for its third straight win of the season Friday against St. Louis University High at Adkins Stadium.
The Junior Bills enter the game with a 1-2 record and back-to-back losses after falling 49-7 to De Smet on Friday on the road.
"I feel like this is the first game since coach Walker came here that we've all really come together," Johnston said. "And I really think it's the start of the turn of a new program."