Round one in the quest for the Missouri State Varsity Football championship begins on Friday, October 29th. The Jefferson R-7 Blue Jays will be hosting the first game of their potential run against the Kelly Hawks. Each game from here on out is a must-win elimination game, which means all hands on deck, in this do-or-die match-up for both teams.
Jefferson enters the game as the second seed in the bracket, while Kelly is the five seed. Jefferson has a slight edge in wins this season, going 7-2, compared to Kelly’s 6-3 record. The big advantage for the Blue Jays may come from the location. Jefferson boasts an undefeated 5-0 record at home, while Kelly is 2-2 on the road.
Jefferson also holds an edge in points per game with an average of 38.1, while Kelly’s average is only 19. Defensively, Jefferson has only allowed 14.2 points per game, and Kelly has allowed 22.8.
Nonetheless, those stats don’t necessarily mean much given the different opponents each team faced this season. What may tell a clearer story are common opponents, as these schools have two this year in Bayless and Chafee. Jefferson dominated Bayless 61-20 as well as Chaffee 50-0. On the other side, Kelly only squeaked by Bayless 13-6, but also easily handled Chaffee a 31-0 loss.
Both teams are coming off wins in their final regular season games. Jefferson ended on a three-game winning streak, most recently edging out St. Vincent 20-13, while Kelly actually snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating Bayless. Ending on a win will certainly benefit both squads.
These two teams have played each other, but not this past season. The last time these two faced was last season in the playoffs. The Blue Jays came out the victor in that tilt 40-7, eliminating the Hawks and ending their season. Surely the Hawks haven’t forgotten.
On paper, this looks like it could be a rather evenly matched game, with a slight edge towards Jefferson. Either way, it will no doubt be a battle as both schools do not want to end the season without hoisting that MO State Championship plaque. Game time is 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 29th.
Good luck Blue Jays!