If the St. James High School football team wanted to grab some momentum entering Four Rivers Conference play, mission accomplished.
Averaging 44.0 points per game in their two non-conference openers, the Tigers begin FRC action on Friday at Hermann. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
St. James comes in with a 2-0 record, beating Houston 39-20 last week and Cuba 49-22 on Aug. 30. The Hermann Bearcats enter its league opener 1-1 after whipping Cuba 49-6 last week and falling to Montgomery County 23-20 two weeks ago.
In past seasons the St. James-Hermann contest has been a thriller. Last season Hermann topped the Tigers 28-20.
"Hermann is a good football team," said St. James High head coach Greg Harlan. "We saw them at the East Central Full-Contact Camp this summer. In the last two years we've had competitive games against them, with both games being one-score affairs.
"I look for it to be a real even matchup."
The Bearcats have generally been an effective option team. However, against Cuba Hermann senior quarterback Craig Winkelmann hit on 7-of-10 passes for 166 yards and four touchdowns.
So far this season Winkelmann has hit on 9-15 passes for 212 yards, one interception and five TDs while rushing for 155 yards in 21 attempts.
Also for Hermann senior running back Saige Hale has rushed for 127 yards on 13 carries and senior running back Chris Hug 102 yards on 17 attempts.
Sophomore running back Conner Lane has caught three passes for 48 yards while junior wideout Kody Thompson has two catches for 48 yards.
Hale, a linebacker, leads the Bearcats in tackles with 17 while junior defensive back Jordan Leicht has 15 tackles.
"Hermann's coach, Andy Emmons, played at Hermann and he played on teams that had a lot of success running a lot of flexbone with option football," Harlan said. "And that's what he's re-established with them, a lot of option football and a very aggressive defense. It's a big challenge for us.
"They have a very talented quarterback who seems to run their offense with a lot of confidence."
For the Tigers sophomore quarterback Brett Karnes passed for 297 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for another TD against Houston last week.
So far this season Karnes has completed 21-of-40 passes for 408 yards, three interceptions and six TDs. Senior wideout Jamal Sconiers has caught five passes for 175 yards and three TDs for the Tigers while senior wideout Cody Birkner has nine receptions for 119 yards and two TDs and junior wideout Jake Money has six catches for 109 yards and a TD.
On the ground senior running back Jesse Hays leads St. James with 189 yards on 32 carries and two TDs while Karnes has rushed for 71 yards on 19 attempts and two TDs.
Page 2 of 2 - Junior linebacker Garrett Ubben leads St. James in tackles with 20 solos and seven assists while junior linebacker Cameron Orlando has 15 and nine, junior lineman Marcus Bradshaw 12 and two and Hays, a linebacker, 10 and five.