Putting itself in position to score hasn’t been the problem in the St. James High School football team’s start to the season. Finishing the job has.
St. James had the ball inside the red-zone on five difference occasions against Houston Friday, Sept. 4. However, STJ converted just once, wasting a solid defensive effort in an 18-6 Houston non-conference victory at St. James. It was Senior Night for STJ.
St. James falls to 0-2 and saw its losing streak increase to 13 games covering three years. Houston improves to 2-0.
Part of the problem for St. James was an inability to move the ball on the ground against the Houston defensive front. Houston limited the St. James running game to just 12 yards on 19 attempts.
STJ did get a strong game from senior quarterback Preston Schmidt. Schmidt, in only his second varsity game, helped keep St. James afloat by completing 15-of-21 passes for 131 yards. St. James threw two interceptions.
“It’s disheartening to get a loss in games you think you can win,” said St. James head coach Josh Rodriguez. “At the same time, we’re a lot better than at any point last year. Defensively we’re playing much better.
“But we had five trips into the red-zone and didn’t score on four of those. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot at times. Houston did a good job of taking away the run. They were whipping us up front. That (senior defensive tackle) Trevor Mitchell kid is a hoss for them.”
Houston opened the scoring with a 71-yard drive. A 20-yard pass from senior quarterback Ty Franklin to junior tight end Korbyn Tune got the ball deep in St. James’ territory. Junior running back Bailey Hurst got the touchdown with a four-yard run. The PAT attempt failed.
With St. James failing on a fourth-and-two situation, the visitors would score again late in the second period, powered by a 28-yard run by Hurst. Senior fullback Chris Cichon ended the drive by bulling over for a two-yard TD run. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving it 12-0.
Houston would get on the scoreboard once more in the final seconds of the first half. Franklin, also a defensive back, set up the final Houston score by intercepting a St. James halfback pass attempt and returning the ball to the STJ 15-yard line. Franklin would end the drive on a one-yard TD keeper with 19 seconds left in the half. Again, the conversion run attempt fell short and St. James went into intermission trailing 18-0.
Houston continued to stifle the St. James offense in the second half. St. James’ best scoring opportunity in the third period came when it blocked a punt and recovered inside the Houston 10-yard line. St. James would eventually attempt a field goal, which was blocked.
Another Houston mistake set up the lone St. James score.
Houston lost a fumble at its own 31-yard line. St. James would finally convert when Schmidt connected with Derek Skaggs for a 14-yard TD pass. The STJ two-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
Chances for St. James to creep closer was stopped later in the fourth period by an interception and lost fumble.
St. James is scheduled to open Four Rivers Conference play Friday, Sept. 11, by hosting Hermann (7 p.m. kickoff).
The box score
Sept. 4 at St. James
Houston 18, St. James 6
The score by periods:
Houston 6 12 0 0-18
St. James 0 0 0 6- 6
The scoring plays:
Houston: Hurst 4-yard run, kick fails (4:59).
Houston: Cichon 2-yard run, conversion fails (3:48).
Houston: Franklin 1-yard run, conversion fails (:19).
St. James: Skaggs 14-yard pass from Schmidt, conversion fails (10:49).
Rushing: St. James – Schmidt 8 for 14, Wilfong 5 for 2, Guese 1 for minus-4, Maylee 1 for minus-5, Snyder 2 for 3, Hutto 1 for 1, Oxner 1 for 1. Houston – Hurst 18 for 105, Cichon 7 for 14, Franklin 11 for 82, Fuwell 13 for 61, James 1 for minus-1.
Passing: St. James – Schmidt 15-21-131-1, Wilfong 0-1-0-1. Houston – Franklin 6-9-75-0.
Receiving: St. James – Guese 4 for 21, Skaggs 5 for 43, Wilfong 1 for 6, Maylee 1 for 18, Sparks 3 for 14, Hutto 1 for 33. Houston – Tune 4 for 58, Hurst 1 for 6, Cichon 1 for 11.
Tackles: St. James – Hutto 10 (solo)-5 (assists), ford 1-0, Branstetter 1-2, Wilfong 5-7, Kurtti 2-3, Maylee 1-6, Achterberg 4-6, Satterfield 1-2, Altis 3-5, Dekock 1-1, Poeling 0-1, Deluca 4-8, Hinderhan 8-3, Grouns 1-0, Lewis 0-2, Brown 4-4, Oxner 4-9. Houston – McNew 1-0, Tune 0-1, Hurst 4-1, Cichon 3-0, Carroll 6-1, Franklin 4-1, James 2-0, Lathrom 3-1, Lassiter 2-0, Swallows 5-2, Mitchell 5-0.
QB Sacks: St. James – None. Houston – Carroll 2, Mitchell 1.
Fumble Recoveries: St. James – N/A. Houston – Carroll 2.