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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • St. James football on the road

  • STJ at Houston in battle of Tigers.
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  • In addition to getting the victory, last week's season-opener against Cuba provided another benefit for the St. James High School football team.
    It helped the Tigers prepare for their Week 2 opponent.
    St. James hits the road on Friday to take on Houston in non-conference action (7 p.m. kickoff).
    St. James is coming off a big win, blasting Cuba 49-22 in last week's opener at home. Houston dropped its opener last week to South-Central Association rival Salem 48-16.
    Entering this week's contest, St. James head coach Greg Harlan says his squad should be familiar with the offense that Houston will run.
    "Houston runs an offense similar to Cuba," Harlan said. "They use a double-tight, double-wing offense. And they run what I call a dotted-I, with the slotback lined up between the fullback and tailback. On film they look like they've got a little fight to them. We've got to be ready to play. I thought their fullback looked good on tape. We've got to be ready for a physical football game.
    "In our first three or four games we play teams who have a similar mind set, in that they will have a downhill (rushing) mind set. Our defense sees us run a lot of spread stuff in practice. If we can play two or three teams with the same type of offense, it allows our kids to get a better feel for it."
    St. James had to work to pull out a 25-20 home victory over Houston last year.
    Last week Houston had problems dealing with Salem's spread offense and 5-2 defensive scheme.
    Salem had much success running the football from the spread against Houston, producing 250 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Salem attempted just four passes but completed all of them for 94 yards and a TD.
    And Houston could manage just a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns against Salem's junior varsity squad.
    St. James will probably challenge the Houston run defense as well, after rushing for 207 yards against Cuba, led by 123 yards and two touchdowns from senior Jesse Hays and three more rushing TDs from junior Garrett Ubben.
    Houston returns six starters back on both sides of the ball from last season's 2-8 squad. Senior Devin Coulter, a converted tight end, leads the team at quarterback. Senior wingback Nathanial Alkire and senior fullback Trevor Merckling are also expected to be key to the Houston offense.
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