Jefferson City’s offense had rolled in the past two weeks.
With 157 points in its last three games, the T-wing has continued to improve and the Jays have looked to turn a corner.
Against Class 5 No.8 Helias, it all came to a halt on Friday in a 51-7 loss at Ray Hentges Stadium.
The Jays’ opening offensive possession (3-4, 3-2 Central Missouri Activities Conference) began in a similar fashion to what fans have seen all season, with a transfer to wide-back Zane Wings, but the Crusaders (6-1, 5-0 CMAC) blocked the line of scrimmage and abandoned Wings for a loss.
Jefferson City then added a few more wrinkles that weren’t visible in the past two weeks. The Jays attempted 14 passes, a season-high, and completed five for 44 yards.
David Bethune, the Jays’ main rusher and back star, was involved in the passing attack which was split into several games as a receiver while the team mixed new formations with a few shotgun games. and with more players split wide while sticking to the usual T-wing formation at times.
“I have told everyone every time we are going to do whatever we think is necessary to get football going,” said Jefferson City coach Damon Wells. “So whatever that means. That’s what we’re going to do.”
The passing attack had mixed results. Quarterback Hayden Wells managed to pick receivers in the middle to get big wins for wide receiver Ryan Tadsen, but there were a few other games where receivers had a bit of room and a dropped pass or poor pitch. placed caused the pass to fall incomplete and hit the turf.
Wings and Tadsen also attempted passes themselves on the end games, but the timing was right and the receivers down the field were missed.
Those passing plays came after the Jays’ first pass of the game gave Helias his second score. Bethune was wide and sprinted through the cornerback and up the field for a deep ball, but Hayden Wells threw the ball five yards into the field for an out.
Carsen Brauner slid to make the interception and had only green grass in front of him before waltzing into the end zone to give the Crusaders a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as Bethune stood near the middle of field with his hands in the air in confusion.
“It was a communication problem and it’s my fault,” Wells said.
It was Bethune’s first target or carry over on a day he only got four carries for 78 yards on Friday, a mark less than half of his season low of nine carries. Full-back Kevion Pendelton continued to do the heavy lifting in the middle. Bethune’s wide runs and wide moves made some of Helias’ defenders stand out as he functioned as a decoy, but the rest of the Crusader defense was able to handle the rest of the offense.
Helias did a good job on the first down to stop the races and put Jefferson City in many second or third and long runs that took away some of the possibilities from the racing playbook. Wells said the reduction in the number of races for Bethune was not planned.
“No, not at all,” Wells said. “But we were doing everything we could to try to get football going.”
Additionally, the Jays have managed multiple players throughout the season, which means Betune has never had a huge workload in any game this year. His season high for racing is 16 in an offense that generally shares the richness of the racing game.
Bethune took one of his litters for the Jays lone scoring, a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter where he beat a few defensemen on the sidelines, then split into the middle of Helias’ defense before letting go. everyone in its wake for a score.
But that was the extent of the offense for the Jays. Besides Bethune’s score, the Jays had 82 yards of offense in the unit’s weakest performance this season.
“We played a really good football team,” Wells said. “And I think we understand that we’re definitely not a finished product. But that’s why we’ll be back in the office tomorrow and have a great week of training next week.”
Next, Jefferson City will look to get back on track in their final CMAC competition of the season. The Jays play at 7 p.m. Friday at Battle (4-2, 3-1 CMAC). The Spartans beat Rock Bridge on the road in Week 7 and have won three of their last four games following a loss to Helias earlier in the season.