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story.lead_photo.caption Jefferson City running back David Bethune jumps over a teammate and a defender during last Friday night's game against Sedalia Smith-Cotton at Adkins Stadium. Photo by Jason Strickland / California Democrat.

This one has been stirring in the cauldron for more than a year now.

The players and coaches that traded in red and black for royal blue and silver last fall will return to a familiar place against a familiar team tonight.

The Jefferson City Jays and Capital City Cavaliers will begin their rivalry on the football field tonight as they face off in first varsity contest between the teams. Kickoff for the Central Missouri Activities Conference game is 7 p.m. at Adkins Stadium in what is a home game for the Cavaliers.

"I don't think anybody knows what it means because it's never been played before," Jefferson City coach Scott Bailey said. "I think over time it'll develop a meaning once it's been played and somebody's won and somebody's lost. As of right now, it's so new I don't think anybody really knows what to expect."

What we do know is the Cavaliers' players used to call their Jefferson City foes teammates and a handful of coaches have been on the Jays' staff.

This is one of those games that just means more.

At the very least, it's another chance for Capital City (0-4, 0-3 CMAC) to claim its first win and a shot for Jefferson City (1-3, 1-1 CMAC) to win in back-to-back weeks for the first time since early last season.

The Jays ended a 10-game losing streak last Friday night with a 27-6 win against Sedalia Smith-Cotton for the Jays' first win with Bailey in charge.

"I don't think there's any doubt that our kids are playing with great effort and loving football," Bailey said following the win.

When watching the Cavaliers, Bailey sees plays similar to what he liked to call in 14 seasons at Lamar.

Coach Shannon Jolley will bring his wing-T offense to Adkins Stadium after the Cavaliers put 49 points on the board against Rock Bridge last week in Columbia.

"A little bit different formation-wise, blocking schemes are pretty similar," Bailey said when comparing his offense at Lamar to the wing-T.

Three Cavaliers enter tonight with more than 200 yards on the ground, led by junior Ethan Wood's 412 yards on 66 rushes.

Ian Nelson has tallied 339 yards on 58 carries and Hurley Jacobs has added 229 yards on 52 rushes.

Capital City has surpassed 1,200 yards on the ground in four games, averaging 5.8 yards per rush.

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"I would say the level of energy that their kids play with is very high," Bailey said. "I would say that the way that they run the football is physical and the type of offense that they run is similar to what I've run in the past. Sometimes it's hard to get them off the field. You get three yards a pop, you can stay on the field."

Opponents are averaging 4.2 yards per rushing attempt against the Jays.

"We're still figuring some things out," Jays senior linebacker Jacob Duke said after last week's game. "And some alignment and responsibility issues, but we're improving. We have a lot of young kids up front. We're adjusting and it has been a grind, especially in practice."

There could be quite a few runs being called from the other sideline with the Jays matching up against a Cavaliers defense allowing nearly 11.8 yards per rushing attempt.

Capital City's opponents have gained 1,414 yards, including 455 in a 52-27 loss against Hickman.

"It's gonna be a shortened game with them running the ball and us running the ball," Bailey said. "And it's gonna be a minimal possession game so field position becomes even more important, and you've got to do something when you've got the ball."

David Bethune is coming off a 130-yard performance against Smith-Cotton, including a 78-yard touchdown. He has rushed for 221 yards on 64 carries with four scores this season.

Devin White has ran the ball 14 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns from his receiver spot.

"I like the transition that we did with Devin and David at the wings," Duke said, "and I think it's allowed us to run ball outside a lot more."

Jefferson City found out Monday it had dropped down from Class 6 to Class 5.

The Jays are third in the District 4 standings with 31.25 points behind Washington (3-1) and Battle (2-1).

Rolla (2-2), Camdenton (2-2) and Capital City round out the district standings.

"There are some teams in it we're real familiar with and some teams in it that we're not," Bailey said. "I think being in the six-team district, getting into that one or two seeds is really important to get the bye. I'll say that a goal would be to play well enough to get into the top of the district so you can get a bye week to heal up right before you play for several more days of football."

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