Jays football faces long road to start season

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Jays football team has one of the toughest schedules in all of Missouri. 

That's not only because of the teams they play, but also because of their travel schedule. 

The Jays opened the year with two straight trips to St. Louis to face McCluer North and Kirkwood, spending more than eight hours traveling to and from both games. 

"At Jefferson City we are going to play whoever wants to plays us. We don't care if they are state champs or what they are," said head coach Ted LePage. "If they call to play us we are going to play them." 

LePage means that as well. Kirkwood is the defending Class 6A champion and beat Jefferson City last week 35-7. 

LePage said the long road trips were not talked about much amongst the team, but he said focus is important. 

"Letting the players know the itinerary early, letting them know a week in advance exactly here is what the procedures are going to be," LePage said. "And having short, little meetings before you leave to make sure everyone understands to focus." 

The other side of the equation is a mentality. 

"We're together. And we need to act together, we need to be together," LePage said. "Everything is geared toward one thing, and that is to focus on that football game." 

The road games do not bother LePage as much as some may think. 

"Sometimes as coaches we worry about playing at home because you are not as structured and not as tight as you are when you go on the road," LePage said. 

He has been happy with the way his team has played the first two weeks. 

"Our team plays hard, and we play physical. We need to play into those strengths," LePage said. 

He said the team simply needs more in-game situations at practice to get experience and limit mistakes. 

"What we are lacking right now is game experience. I don't think we are lacking that much talent, that much strength, that much speed," LePage said. "And I think as we grow in that scenario we are going to be a fun team to be around."

Jefferson City travels to their third straight road game this week as they face off with rival Hickman in Columbia. 

Last year the Jays went 5-5 on the season.