The Jefferson Blue Jays are doing a good job of putting their 1-3 start to the season in the rearview mirror.
Head Coach Matt Atley’s squad won its third straight, and wasted little time in putting away Grandview on the road Friday night in a 41-12 rout of the Eagles, who have now lost five consecutive games.
Jefferson quarterback Karson Haefner got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 42-yard run. The extra point made it 7-0, but the Blue Jays were just warming up.
Later in the opening quarter, Sam Stokes continued Jefferson’s big play outburst with a 27-yard run to the end zone. This time the PAT failed, and it remained 13-0.
Did I mention big plays for the Blue Jays? The biggest one of the night came before the end of the first quarter when leading rusher Sean Usery took it 85 yards for the touchdown. This was Usery’s longest scoring run of the season, which is saying something considering he already has TD runs of 77, 63 and 57 yards this season. The successful two-point conversion made it 21-0 after the opening 12 minutes.
Jefferson opened the second quarter scoring when Nate Breeze hauled in his team-high fifth touchdown reception of the season to put his team up 28-0 after the successful PAT.
The Blue Jays scored once more before halftime when Gavin Theodoro crossed the goal line for the first time on the season from three yards out. The point after made it 35-0 at the half. The 35-points in the first half matches a season-high put up in the week two win over Cuba.
Max Schnitzler got in on the fun in the third quarter with a one-yard scoring run. The extra point was no good and it was 41-0 after three quarters.
Grandview tacked on two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, both point after attempts failed to make the final score 41-12. That’s the second time in three weeks the Blue Jays have put over 40 points up on the scoreboard.
Jefferson’s offense may be finding its stride just in time for the late-season push heading into district play. The Blue Jays averaged just 14.5 ppg during the 1-3 start. But they’re putting up an average of 34.3 ppg during the three-game winning streak. Critics of the winning streak might say it has come against three teams with a combined record of 5-16. But the scoring surge must be comforting for a team that had trouble finding the end zone early in the season.
Usery continued his strong play in the backfield with 131 yards rushing against the Eagles on just four carries and his team-leading tenth touchdown of the season.
Schnitzler followed up his 108-yard rushing effort last week against Perryville with 70 more and his first touchdown of the season.
Kole Williams had a season-high 70 yards rushing and he completed his only pass attempt on the ten-yard scoring strike to Breeze in the second quarter.
Haefner added 50 yards on the ground and his second touchdown on the season, while Stokes added 42 yards rushing and his second score in 2022. He also was credited with five total tackles on defense. He leads the team in that category with 59.
Speaking of defense, Coach Atley has been able to rely on that side of the ball all season.
Mikey Frisk led the way with nine tackles, Breeze helped with seven and defensive lineman Mason Campbell was also involved in five stops.
Bennett Pemberton grabbed his first interception of the season in the third quarter.
The Blue Jays have allowed just 82 points in seven games, good for 11.7 ppg. If their offense continues to improve, watch out for them down the stretch. They currently sit in the middle of the pack in the seven-team Class 2, District 1 standings.
But the competition gets tougher in the final two weeks of the regular season with games against Ste. Genevieve and St. Vincent, two teams with a combined record of 11-3. The Indians all but wrapped up the I-55 Conference title with a win Friday night at St. Pius, but both games are at home starting next Friday, October 14 against the Dragons. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.