Andrew Graves scored five touchdowns, and the defense stymied Malden’s offense, save one big play, as the Jefferson Blue Jays won 43-8 Friday at home. The game was the district opener for the Jays, who now own a 9-1 season record.
Jefferson opened the scoring with 11:24 remaining in the first quarter. Graves scored from six yards out. The touchdown was the 109th of his career, making him the fourth all-time leading touchdown scorer in Missouri High School history. Lucas Vaughn kicked the first of his five extra points on the night, and the Jays were up 7-0.
Colby Ott was next to hit paydirt. With 5;12 to go in the opening quarter, Ott ran the football in from 22 yards to put Jefferson up 14-0, which is the way the quarter ended.
The second half saw a lot of action. Graves scored his second TD of the night, a 15 yard run, giving the home team a 21-0 lead with 7:07 to go in the half. Malden got a huge 90 yard touchdown passing play and a two point conversion, to make the score 21-8, but on the ensuing kickoff, Graves scored again, returning the kick 82 yards to make it 28-8. For good measure, with just 17 seconds left in the quarter, Graves scored touchdown number four on a 27 yard run to make the halftime score 35-7.
Head coach Alex Rouggly was obviously happy with his team’s performance. “I was extremely pleased with the way our boys came out ready to play from the opening whistle. We played with a sense of urgency all night.”
Things settled a bit in the second half. Graves did manage to get his fifth touchdown of the night, and his 113th of his career, on an eight yard run at the 5:45 mark of the third quarter. He also ran in the two point conversion, which would make the final 43-8.
Jefferson churned up 420 yards rushing on 48 carries for the night. Graves gained 252 yards, while Ott added 88. Ben Breeze contributed 46 yards. Defensively, Daniel Mcwhorter led the team with seven tackles, three assists, and two tackles for loss. Dawson Jakoubek added five tackles and two assists, while Ethan Deal chipped in with five tackles, an assist, and one sack. Brandon Floyd also got a sack along with three tackles and an assist. Graves did his part on defense too with three tackles and an interception, while Ott netted four tackles and one assist.
“I believe this is the best game we have played in all three facets of the game of football,” said Rouggly. “This is a great time of the year for that to happen. This was a complete team effort, with every one of our kids playing a huge role in this playoff victory. Whether it be our scout team kids to our starters, it took every one of them to be focused on the task at hand all week. That allowed us to win our second Week 10 game in school history. Our preparation has got to be on par this week in order to put ourselves in position to have success against a very good Caruthersville team.”
That game will take place at Jefferson on Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Caruthersville defeated New Madrid Central, 58-20. The other two teams in the district that are still alive are the St. Pius Lancers and the Charleston Blue Jays. Those two teams will play Friday at Charleston to determine who will meet the winner of the Jefferson-Caruthersville game for the district championship.
Photo courtesy of Jerrianne Wallace