The Extra Point: Game of the Week: Jefferson City at Battle
COLUMBIA - With only two weeks left in the season in mid-Missouri high school football, we have a high-powered and well-established Jefferson City team heading up to Columbia to take on the young and new Battle squad. It should be a fun game because these two schools are so different yet so alike, but we will get to that when we break down the matchup.
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Who: Jefferson City Jays (5-2) at Battle Spartans (4-3)
When: Friday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.
Where: 7575 St. Charles Rd, Columbia, MO 65202
Distance: 36 miles, or about a 38 minute drive.
Significance: One of these teams has won a state championship, is probably one of the best teams in mid-Missouri, is rated in the top 200 nationally, sends players to the NFL and are well respected not only in the state but the nation. That is Jefferson City. The team the Jays will be facing are pesky, young, in their second season, have no experience playing in big games and yet are resilient in almost every game. This is the first time the Spartans see the Jays and it will be interesting to see how the well-respected Jefferson City will react to being the visiting team.
|Class 6, District 3||Class 5, District 4|
Battle Spartans (4-3): These pesky Spartans are causing a ruckus in all kinds of standings, including their own. My prediction at the beginning of the season was the Spartans would finish .500. They could still finish .500, but I am starting to regret my pick a little bit. I did not expect the kind of offensive explosion this team would have: seventeen touchdowns on the ground and another five through the air. The harmony of this Spartan offense has been astounding to say the least, and I expect them to continue to do that into the post-season if they can win one or possibly both games that remain this season.
Player to Watch: Nash Sutherlin, senior RB/CB. This young man has really shown senior leadership on the field for this Spartan offense. He leads in every running category and has 9 TDs, which leads the team. He is averaging 161 yards per game and an even 8 yards per carry. Side note: He has also caught one pass for 58 yards, and added another TD to his tally. A strong game from Sutherlin means a chance at a win against the Jays.
Jefferson City Jays (5-2): Two weeks ago, the Jays suffered a devastating loss to Rock Bridge. Last week, they came out firing and won 48-6 against Confluence Academy to get some of their swagger back. Now, they head in to this week tied for second in their district, a place where the 10-time state champions do not like to be. They are looking at the post-season, as they do almost every season, but they will be smart not to overlook the Spartans. They have a great run game, an average passing game and their defense is solid. This game is a must-win to have a chance at a three-game winning streak heading into post season play.
Player to Watch: Elijah Pittman, junior RB. Pittman is on track to get the same amount of carries as last season, and he is looking to keep on improving in other areas from last year. Averaging 6.4 yards per carry with 6 TDs on the season, he is on the right track to improve, but simply improving will not get this Jays team deep into post-season play. I believe if the Jays, behind Pittman, start playing games like they are "win or go home" games, then they will not only win this week, but they will possibly look like a real threat in the post-season.
Prediction: Experience prevails. Jefferson City wins this one handily but the Spartans will look really strong. Jefferson City comes out trying to throw the ball against the inexperienced Spartan defense and they will not get very far. Pittman will step up and bust out one long run, and the rest will be written. If the Spartan defense can hold off the Jays, then Sutherlin could have a big game against a struggling Jays defense, but I still think the Jays prevail.
Jefferson City - 48
Battle - 13
Be sure to watch Friday Night Fever at 10 p.m. on Friday night to see how your favorite team fared in week seven.