It couldn’t have come at a better time.
Pacific (2-7, 1-5) snapped its seven-game losing streak on the football field in a big way Friday at St. James, cruising to a 39-22 victory.
“We did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. It was a great team effort all the way around,” said Pacific Head Coach George Hinkle. “I’m happy for our boys. They deserve this. They laid it on the line and put together a very good game.”
It was a huge night for Indians senior running back Tanner Brown, who rushed for 324 yards on 34 carries and scored three touchdowns. He also found the end zone on a pair of two-point conversions.
“Tanner’s 324 rushing yards might be a school record. It’s close. We’re in the process of looking it up,” Hinkle said. “He was a workhorse with 34 carries. They ran a lot of blitzes up the middle and Tanner was able to get to the edge, turn the corner and make some big runs.”
The Indians are seeded eighth in Class 4 District 3 and take on top-seeded Ladue (8-1) in the opening round Thursday at 7 p.m. at St. Louis University High School.
St. James (3-6, 1-5) is seeded fourth in Class 3 District 2 and hosts fifth-seeded Bishop DuBourg (3-6) Friday at 7 p.m.
Pacific accumulated 437 yards, 418 rushing and 19 passing.
“Any time you have a back go for the amount of yards Tanner did, you have to give credit to the offensive line,” Hinkle said. “Dalton Mathis, Scott Roberts, Logan Wells and Jeff Hinkle have been our mainstays on the offensive line this season.”
Brown did most of the damage with his 324-yard performance. He also had one catch for 13 yards.
Quarterback Josh Vondriska was 2-3 passing for 19 yards. He rushed for 18 yards on seven carries.
Ashton Moore carried the ball three times for 38 yards and scored one touchdown.
Dalton Voyles carried the ball nine times for 30 yards and scored one touchdown.
Caleb Moman rushed for eight yards on two attempts.
Duane Singleton finished with one reception for six yards.
“The way we ran the ball, we didn’t need to throw it very much,” Hinkle said. “Not only did Tanner have a good game, but Ashton and Dalton also ran the ball well.”
Defensively, Voyles led Pacific with eight solo tackles and four assists.
Scott Roberts added six solos (two sacks) and two assists. Jeff Hinkle, Shane Henderson and Singleton (one fumble recovery) each registered five solos and one assist.
Danny Nickelson had a sack and a fumble recovery. Logan Wells and Lucas Zurliene also recovered a fumble.
“We played pretty well defensively. The big thing was we were able to put pressure on them and force some turnovers,” Hinkle said. “We had some good kickoff and punt returns by Lucas Zurliene and Jason Koepke, which gave our offense good field position.”
Ladue brings an eight-game winning streak into the district opener against Pacific.
The Rams lost in week one against Parkway Central (8-1) by a 41-10 score, but have rebounded with wins over Parkway West, Berkeley, McCluer, Normandy, Affton, Clayton, Ft. Zumwalt North and Jennings.
During their eight-game winning streak, the Rams are averaging 45 points per game.
“Watching them on film, they have athletes everywhere. They have good size and good speed. They have a lot of seniors and a lot of experience,” Hinkle said. “They do a good job attacking on both sides of the ball.”
Quarterback Matthew Hooper has thrown for 19 touchdowns and has rushed for nine more this season.
His favorite targets are Ryan Glazer, Duncan Cannon and Cody Kniptash. The top running threats are Udell Hyde, James Scott and Matthew Hooper.
“Their offensive line is the key for them. They get off the ball well. The quarterback runs the option well. He can throw it and run it. He sees the field well,” Hinkle said. “We have to do what we do, catch a few breaks and try to give ourselves a chance. We’ve played against some very good teams, like Sullivan and Festus, so we’re not going to back down.”
The Ladue-Pacific winner plays the Union-Priory winner in the district semifinals Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.