Rain, nor cold, nor grass nor Tigers could prevent the Union football Wildcats from claiming victory Friday night, 43-6
The Wildcats (6-2, 4-1) rolled past the host St. James Tigers (3-5, 1-4) in Four Rivers Conference action in Phelps County, 43-6.
The elements proved to be an additional foe for both teams in the game, particularly in the second half. While it drizzled at times during the first half, the rain came down much harder during the final half of action.
“We slipped a little bit,” Union Head Coach Erick Webster said. “Some of that has to do with the rain. It was a change of scenery, change of field and change of stadium. I think we did a pretty decent job catching the ball, which is something you worry about when it gets a little bit wet and cold.”
It also proved to be the first chilly game of the season. After being blessed with warm weather for the first seven weeks of the season, the conditions felt more like fall than summer for the first time of the year.
And, for the first time this season, Union had to deal with a different element — grass. It was the first game the Wildcats played this season on a natural surface. At times, keeping footing proved to be elusive for the players on both sides, but most of the slips seemed to come on Union players.
Also, the ball became a bit harder to handle and that played into the lone St. James score on the night.
Additionally, after the rain hit, mud became a very minor factor on certain places of the field.
Union sputtered early, but found its groove in the second quarter, scoring 22 points to take a 29-0 lead at the intermission.
“When you get a couple of drives early, sometimes it takes only one or two miscues and the whole thing melts in front of you,” Webster said. “We got it going, but we didn’t get it going until a little later than I would have liked to have seen.”
Once again, Union’s offensive line proved to be a wall against defensive players. The Wildcats did not surrender a single sack on the night while helping to generate 487 yards of total offense (308 passing, 179 rushing).
Union’s line gave quarterback Blake Hulsey plenty of time to find receivers and continue to check off routes while moving around in the backfield.
“It probably wasn’t the sharpest read night for the Q that we’ve had, but our O line did a good job of giving him the time he needed,” Webster said. “Our receivers did a good job under scramble rules to give him what he needed to be successful.”
Overall, Hulsey completed 25 of 33 attempts for 308 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Perhaps the Union line’s domination was exemplified by a 46-yard touchdown from Hulsey to Logan Bellamy with 3:19 left in the half.
With Union already leading 21-0, Hulsey scrambled around until he found Bellamy wide open down the middle of the field.
Hulsey’s pass was underthrown and Bellamy had to come back to get the ball, but he still managed to make it into the end zone for the score.
Bellamy and Jacob Carman grabbed two touchdown receptions apiece. Jake Siddens also pulled in a touchdown pass.
Additionally, Hulsey threw for a two-point conversion to Bellamy.
Bellamy caught six passes for 97 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Siddens grabbed seven passes for 68 yards and one touchdown.
Carman was next with four catches for 73 yards and one touchdown.
Jobie Richardson caught four passes for 31 yards. John Prosser caught two passes for 16 yards. Tyler Pace caught one pass for 13 yards and Nick Eads had one catch for 10 yards.
On the ground, Prosser led the way with nine carries for 61 yards, one touchdown and one two-point conversion.
Hulsey scrambled eight time for 34 yards.
TreLin Edwards ran three times for 26 yards while Deric Purnell had two carries for 26 yards.
Carman carried twice for 23 yards. Nick Maher had one carry for 12 yards. Bellamy ran once for six yards.
Also carrying the ball were Brandon Lefholz, Drew Reed, Ethan Hughes and Daniel Collins.
Defensively, Nick Maher led the way with 11 total tackles.
Casey Peth had eight stops and an interception.
Logan Meyer had seven total stops while Ryan Schumaker had six solo tackles.
Joe Lasky had three tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
“I don’t think we tackled well all night long, but they did a good enough job,” Webster said. “That pretty much was a shutout until a blocked punt on the JV. As far as the defensive was concerned, they had a shutout and I was pretty pleased about that.”
St. James Stats
St. James was able to move the ball in the game, but struggled near the goal line.
The Tigers posted 99 rushing and 72 passing yards in the contest.
Quarterback Brett Karnes was the top performer. He completed 12 of 21 pass attempts for 72 yards and one interception.
On the ground, Karnes picked up 74 yards on 20 carries.
Garrett Ubben was credited with four carries for 35 yards.
Through the air, the top receiver was Addison Conway, who caught six passes for 54 yards.
Jamal Sconiers grabbed two passes for 12 yards. Jake Money had three receptions for nine yards.
Money recovered a fumble while Cameron Orlando picked off a pass in the first quarter.
Orlando was the top tackler with 13 total stops. Money made seven solo tackles and Cody Jamnitz ended with six stops.
Derek Hale scored the lone St. James touchdown off a blocked punt in the fourth quarter. His 47-yard return gave the Tigers their only points of the game.
Week 9 Previews
Second place in the Four Rivers Conference is on the line when the Hermann Bearcats (5-3, 4-1) visit Union Friday night. Kickoff at Stierberger Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
“Hermann is a good team,” Webster said. “We’ll definitely have to go and be prepared for. We’ll be at our place, so that’s something that’s definitely in our favor. Their coaching staff has done a good job and their kids are good.”
The game could have bigger implications for Week 10. The Wildcats are ranked fourth in Class 4 District 3 with 39.36 points. Union is 1.6 points behind Sullivan and 5.3 points ahead of Priory. The top four teams will host games in Week 10.
Hermann also has the fourth spot in its district, Class 2 District 6. The Bearcats have 44.45 points, behind South Callaway’s 46.64 points and ahead of Hallsville (39.86 points).
Hermann has won its last two games, including a 48-8 win over Pacific Friday night.
The Bearcats edged St. Clair Oct. 11, 26-22, for their closest win of the season.
Other wins have come against Cuba, St. James and Owensville. Losses have been against Montgomery County, South Callaway and Sullivan.
Facing the Bearcats means the run defense has to be ready to go. The Bearcats have gone back to the veer style attack which brought success in the past.
Quarterback Craig Winkelmann leads the way with 701 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
But he’s not the main runner. Saige Hale has run for 564 yards and three touchdowns and Chris Hug has 356 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Garrett Leimkuehler has run for 288 yards and six touchdowns. Jarrod Kolbe has 248 rushing yards and Conner Lane has run for 214 yards.
The Bearcats will throw and Winkelmann has completed 37 of 70 attempts for 609 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Kyle Thompson is the team’s top receiver with 12 catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Grant Ruediger has caught six balls for 110 yards and two scores.
Hale has caught three passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Lane, Austin Wurtz, Jordan Leicht and Kolbe also are threats to catch passes.
Defensively, Winkelmann is the top tackler with 59 stops, one interception and a fumble recovery.
Leicht, Leimkuehler and Kody Thompson each have two interceptions. Hale has recorded a sack.
St. James concludes the regular season with a home game against Pacific. Further information on Pacific’s last game can be found elsewhere in this section.
The Tigers also are fourth in Class 3 District 2 at this moment with 29.64 points.
Soldan currently holds third place at 39.69 points while Bishop DuBourg is fifth at 25.43 points.
Pacific is eighth in Class 4 District 3 with 18.14 points. St. Clair holds seventh at 28.16 points.
UNI - Logan Bellamy 5 pass from Blake Hulsey (Ryan Schumaker kick), 2:37
UNI - Jacob Carman 2 pass from Hulsey (kick failed), 9:26
UNI - John Prosser 13 run (Prosser run), 6:36
UNI - Bellamy 46 pass from Hulsey (Bellamy pass from Hulsey), 3:19
UNI- Jake Siddens 5 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 7:46
UNI - Carman 36 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 1:28
STJ - Derek Hale 47 blocked punt return (kick failed), 1:09