Welcoming Union to town Friday night, the St. James football Tigers remained in contention for the Four Rivers Conference title with a 49-7 victory.
“The game was obviously disappointing for us,” Union Head Coach Erick Webster said. “As we continue to search for the right mix and formula for what it takes for us to be our best. St. James did a good job defending especially early. We had a lot more success after we went hurry up. Defensively we got our legs under us but it was way too late.”
St. James (6-2, 4-1) is tied with St. Clair, Owensville and Pacific heading into the final week of the season. The Tigers host Pacific (5-3, 4-1) with the winner sharing the league title with the winner of the St. Clair game at Owensville.
Meanwhile, Union (2-6, 1-4) will try to keep Hermann (3-5, 0-5) winless in league action when the Bearcats visit Stierberger Stadium.
“As for Hermann, they are in a very similar position to us, struggling to get a win,” Webster said. “We will have to play well and eliminate mistakes that have plagued us this year. Hermann has a unique offense that will pose some problems, but if we rally well and tackle we should be OK. The game will really come down to our offense and what they are able to do.”
Friday’s game also will be Union’s last chance to pick up momentum for the Class 4 District 4 playoffs, which start in Week 10 (Oct. 20).
As things stand right now, the Wildcats are seventh in the district with 23.91 points. Union has a seven-point bump over Priory, but also trails Westminster Christian by just under seven points for sixth.
The Wildcats will be on the road for Week 10. Heading into Week 9, it appears that the Wildcats will be at Rolla to start the playoffs, but that also could change depending upon other results. Rolla is just .09 of a point in front of St. Clair. Both teams are over five points behind top team Borgia.
The Tigers never trailed in the game, scoring twice in the opening four minutes of the game.
Gunnar Seams scored the opening touchdown from two yards out and Cole Petty kicked the extra point.
Ryan Harlan hit Carter Keeney for a 55-yard pass and Cade Snitker ran for a two-point conversion to make it 15-0.
Harlan ran in from four yards out and Petty kicked the extra point to make it 22-0 after one quarter.
St. James continued the onslaught in the second quarter. Seams scored on a six-yard run and Petty kicked the extra point to make it 29-0.
Union’s lone highlight of the night came when Jacob Fleming found Eli Klenke for an eight-yard scoring pass and Peyton Burke kicked the extra point to cut the gap to 29-7.
St. James closed out the half with two scores from Harlan to Keeney. The first covered 30 yards and the second went for 37. Petty kicked both extra points and it was 42-7 at the half.
In the third quarter, Grant Conway hit Keeney for a seven-yard pass and Petty kicked the extra point to give St. James the 49-7 win.
St. James outgained Union, 407-227. The Tigers passed for 213 and ran for 134. Union gained 187 through the air and ran for 40.
St. James had 16 first downs to 12 for Union.
Union turned the ball over four times with one fumble and three interceptions.
Fleming completed 29 of 54 attempts for 182 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Klenke completed one pass for five yards. Cameron Frost also attempted three passes.
Fleming ran for 46 yards on 11 carries. Brandon Robinson had one carry for two yards.
Klenke caught 10 passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Burke snagged seven passes for 39 yards.
Zac Novak had five catches for 37 yards. Sean Meyer had three catches for 31 yards. Braden Watson caught one pass for 15 yards, Robinson had three catches for nine yards and Donavan Rutledge had one catch for four yards.
Demetrius Clark led Union with eight tackles. Haiden Meyer was next with six. Drew Stallmann made five and Sam Lanham ended with four.
Stallmann had the lone sack. Gage Hettich recovered a fumble.
Harlan was 10-23 for 206 yards and three touchdowns for St. James. Conway completed his lone attempt for seven yards and a score.
Conway ran three times for 108 yards. Harlan had 12 carries for 49 yards. Seams ran 10 times for 33 yards.
Snitker had one carry for three yards and Tate Whitener ran three times for a yard.
Keeney led receivers with five catches for 142 yards and four scores. Snitker had three catches for 51 yards. Jaden Roark caught three passes for 20 yards.
Ty Lewis made seven tackles. Whitener, Nick Wilson and Sage Gibson each had five. Wilson had two sacks.
Whitener, Keeney and Michael Higginbotham intercepted passes.
Union’s final home game of the regular season is against another team which has struggled through the second half of the season, Hermann.
The Bearcats come into the game on a four-game skid with losses to Owensville, Sullivan, St. Clair and Pacific. Hermann last won Sept. 9 at Cleveland NJROTC, 44-18.
Like Union, the Bearcats started the year off at 2-1.
Chase McKague is Hermann’s quarterback and he has completed 57 of 111 attempts for 647 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also has carried the ball 64 times for 177 yards and four scores.
Hermann prefers to run the ball. Trent Oberg and Tanner Unger both have run for over 500 yards this season. Oberg has five scores and Unger has scored twice.
Noah Boyer has over 300 yards rushing while Trent Gleeson has run for more than 200 yards.
Through the air, Gleeson has been the top receiver with 20 catches for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Oberg and Unger also have over 100 receiving yards.
Gleeson is the team’s top tackler with 77 stops. He also has two sacks.
Casey Gleeson has three sacks, Unger has recovered two fumbles and Chase Racherbaumer is the team’s interceptions leader with two.