Hickman coach Cedric Alvis’ son turns 1 on Saturday, but before he and his family can celebrate, he has business to take care of when rival Jefferson City comes to Columbia on Friday.
The Jays come in fresh off a 27-12 victory against Hannibal and look to keep their momentum rolling as they face a Kewpie team that was held scoreless against Helias.
The rivalry heightens everything according to Alvis. He said it doesn’t matter if Jefferson City is really good or really bad, the fact it’s a rivalry game means emotions will be running wild and that makes for a tough match-up.
Hickman won’t have to plan for Maleek Jackson, who Jefferson City lost to graduation. Jackson rushed for more than 150 yards and two touchdowns as the Jays defeated the Kewpies 19-7 last season.
The team knows what Jefferson City will bring to the table when they line up against each other. Alvis said that while the Jays will attack more from the spread this year with the help of quarterback Cole Gresham’s arm and the speed they have at the skill positions, they’re still a traditional Jefferson City team because of the size and physicality the Jays’ linemen bring.
“They’re going to bring a level of consistency in their playcalling,” wide receivers coach Kole Hinton said. “They’re wanting to come out and punch you in the mouth.”
Hickman can’t afford another low-scoring output from its offense on Friday. The defense can get as many turnovers as possible, but it can’t win the game if the offense can’t score points.
It’s all about execution and getting back to the basics on offense. Linebackers coach Lionel Smith emphasized the team’s need to be sound and to have confidence in the game plan.
Hickman squares off against Jefferson City at 7 p.m. Friday at home.