Terry Walker is preparing for his second season as head coach of the Jefferson City Jays.

Chris Leuckel

Jays adjusting to Walker in
his second season as head coach

Kesterson captures
State Am by canning
improbable chip shot

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Loeffler's Link

July 16, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- The year of culture-shock adjustment has come and gone.

The adjustment was from player-friendly head coach Ted LePage ---who has the state-championship trophies to prove his style works --- to the regimented discipline of Terry Walker --- who measures hard work in pounds of sweat and has enjoyed his own great success, but has yet to win a state title.

And this is the time of year when the Jefferson City Jays will sweat by the pound.

The Jays held their annual camp last week and they'll practice a few times this week, before concluding their summer activities at a team camp next week at Southwest Baptist.

As the new field turf continues to be put down at Adkins Stadium, the Jays' camp was held at at Reed Stadium on Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week; the Blue Tigers practiced at Reed on Tuesday and Thursday, moving the Jays back to their practice field.

"Lincoln's been real gracious with us," Walker said.

The camp was just another step down the path that started when last season ended, and will end with the start of the season Aug. 30 at Kirkwood.

"I thought this camp was much better the second time around," Walker said. "The kids had a much better idea of what our expectations were, and the seniors have done a good job of setting the tone.

"You have to work for what you want, and they've done a good job of working so far. The offseason has also been very good because last year, we pretty much revamped everything --- we were basically starting over."

It wasn't a big surprise the Jays struggled last season, crossing the finish line at 4-6. But how they got to 4-6 was.

"It surprised me that we didn't do a couple of things that --- if you're going to be a good program --- you've got to do consistently," Walker said. "First, you've got to know how to respond to adversity --- you've got to take a bad situation, weather the storm and respond in a positive manner..

"The second thing that disappointed us is that the kids just did not play hard enough, consistently enough, to expect to get consistent results. We've got to improve in those areas and as a staff, we know that."

As Walker mentioned, the seniors --- including likely starting quarterback Cole Gresham ---seem to be doing their part, with linemen Brandon Backues and Harrison Mobley being two of those leading that charge. "They've had good offseasons," Walker said, "and we look for them to do some really good things this season.

"We've got a pretty solid group of seniors; they want to be the class that turns the corner. That's still to be determined, but I like the way they're working and I like the leadership we're getting out of the seniors.

"So we'll see what happens."

Walker expects the Jays to remain in Class 6 this year, but drop to Class 5 or even Class 4 next year. With split of the high school, however, we do know this much --- the Jefferson City-Rockhurst rivalry, one of the best in Missouri for decades, will end after this season.

And that's the end of an era.

"Let's face it, you're splitting the high school in half," Walker said. "But from a purist's perspective, it's kind of sad. I think we had some of the greatest high school games ever played in Missouri."