In the early 1960s, Pete Adkins assumed control of the Jeff City Jays football team and led it to a 6-1-2 record in its inaugural season. He led the Jays on a 71-game winning streak from 1958 to 1966, and began his tenure by beating Hickman eight out of nine times in his first 14 games. From 1972 to 1985, Hickman won 13 of 18 games against Jeff City, and then won 17 straight from 1986 to 1999. This stretch was when Jeff City was undisputed as a high school football powerhouse.
Ron Cole, a long-standing supporter of the Jefferson City Jays football team for almost four decades, has an unique perspective on the team’s past, present and future. While sitting in the locker room at Adkins Stadium in the fall of 2001, Ron Cole was talking about a postgame conversation. They were discussing a recent game in which Jefferson City lost to Webb City. Ron Cole looked tired and beat up in the locker room. He expressed concern that his technique might result in him drawing penalties and being ejected.
The Jays’ defense was the weakest link in the game, allowing Vikings to have a huge advantage on the ground. As a result, the Jefferson City Mustangs were unable to convert on their first four possessions. After an abysmal first quarter, the Jays rallied to tie the game at 14-14. The Jays had only one touchdown drive in the first half, but it was enough to take a lead that would last until halftime.
Halftime was 20 minutes long and the Jays trailed by 20. But they came back to win. Jordan Coons threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. He also completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Norris. With the win, the Jays moved to 4-0, but will need a big win to earn a playoff spot. A 2-0 season is possible. The Jefferson City Jays will need to win their next two home games to advance to the state semifinals.
After a 5-7 season, Cole decided to retire from coaching and pursue his passion for raising cattle. When Terry Walker was hired by the Jays as their new defensive coordinator, Cole was coaxed into coaching again. Cole had previously coached at Arrowhead Stadium and Busch Memorial Stadium, Farot Field, Missouri University, The Dome, St. Louis and Cassville before he returned to Jefferson City. His players went on to have outstanding college careers and play in the NFL.
There are many reasons why you should root for Pete Adkins’ Jacksonville City Jays. They have a rich history in winning state championships. Adkins has won 14 perfect seasons and 20 undefeated regular season. One year has been a losing year. His teams have won eight state titles, and have advanced to the state semifinals or beyond eight straight years. Since Adkins took over as head coach in 1986, the Jays are 71-2 in the regular season and have made it to the semifinals or further 24 times.
Adkins was the most successful of all the high-profile coaches. He won 354 games in 37 seasons at Jefferson City and had nine state titles during his tenure at Centralia. Adkins had his moments. Adkins was not always pleased with his players’ performance and would chew their butts if they didn’t perform as he wanted.
Reid was a Chiefs fan for many years. It’s no surprise that the two became fast friends. Reid grew up in Jefferson City, and is a frequent visitor to the Jacksonville City Jays. They were guests at a Chiefs’ game a few years back. Andy Reid was the Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach for eight years. Before that, he was an assistant coach at Green Bay Packers.
After retiring from coaching, Adkins remained close to his hometown football program. Adkins still attends home games, and he also travels to away games. He also loves to watch middle-school and freshman games. While many people may be surprised that Adkins made it to the Super Bowl, he has certainly made his mark. He paved the way for many players who have gone on to play college football. Just ask Steve Samson, who was on the 1985 championship team under Adkins.
Previously a member of the Air Force, Walker joined the Jacksonville City Jays coaching staff in 2015. He served for 22 years before taking over as head coach. Prior to joining the Jays, Walker coached for two seasons at Blair Oaks. Walker is the third school’s head coach. Walker’s tenure with the Jays was interrupted by an NCAA Division I bid, but he’s still looking to improve the program.
McGarity, a former Georgia athletic director supports keeping the game at Jacksonville. He cites the economic and competitive advantages. For example, Georgia’s roster is largely made up of residents from the Macon south area. Local economies are also boosted by the annual influx of Georgia fans. The game also draws many Georgia alumni. This game also gives Jacksonville a competitive edge with other cities. But McGarity has reservations about the economic impact of moving the game to Jacksonville.
Seven Lions representatives attended the Oregon Pro Day of Oregon edge rushers, so he is not a direct comparable. However, Walker has longer arms and bigger hands, which make him comparable to Myles Garrett. And he ran a faster 40 time. While Walker’s athletic ability is questionable, he was a five-star recruit at Georgia. A big high school basketball player, he was also a top prospect.
Jefferson City High School will be looking to revive its faltering football program under Damon Wells, who will also be the school’s activities director. Wells spent the previous 13 seasons as a head coach in Colorado, and he is eager to bring that winning culture to Jacksonville. Wells will be trying to make the Jefferson City Jays win again.
Damon Wells, Jacksonville Jays football coach, had to find a balance for his first season. With the team’s seniors in their final season, Wells had to be patient with the transition process. While a rebuilding process takes time, he committed himself to the seniors’ senior years, which he credited to his team culture. Although Wells knew it would be difficult in the first season, he was determined to keep his team together and has already seen positive results.
Wells had visited the Blue Jays before he moved to Jacksonville. Wells had a chance to meet some of his new teammates before he made the 1,000-mile journey to Jacksonville. He is eager to get to know them. Wells’ resume includes a stint as an assistant high school coach in Florida for four years. He was the Rifle Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2004. Wells’ success in Colorado led him to a position in Denver.
The defense is one of the most important pieces of the Jefferson City Jays’ game plan. Jefferson City allowed an average of 35 points per match last season and struggled to stop other offenses. The Jays lost to Joplin 68-16 in district play and to De Smet 35-20 in the Class 6 title game. The team has several returning players on the defense line. Listed below are some of the key players to watch in this season.
The Jays played a close first half against Rock Bridge. They held a two-touchdown advantage. Rock Bridge ended their five-game losing streak, which included a loss against Smith-Cotton in 2020. Rock Bridge’s Payton Masser scored a 48 yard touchdown on a muffed kick, but they still managed the win.
In anticipation of the COVID-19 catastrophe, the Jays have already modified their schedule. Chaminade’s start in preseason practices was delayed, and the Jays replaced them with Wentzville and Holt Indians. The Hannibal game was delayed until the school district voted for athletics to resume. The Jays will have a difficult schedule to begin the season.
After Scott Bailey’s departure to Lamar, the Jefferson City Jays lost their head coach. The Jays found a new coach and a new head coach quickly. Bailey won seven state championships after 14 seasons. Berendzen will be tasked with making the Jays competitive again. But there’s another key player to watch this year: David Bethune. The committee approach will determine the Blue Jays’ running game.
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