It was a nice bounce-back game for the St. James High School football team.
On Homecoming, no less.
The Tigers rebounded from their lone setback of the season by defeating the Owensville Dutchmen 15-6 Friday in the STJ Homecoming Game at the St. James High Field.
St. James improves to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Four Rivers Conference. Owensville falls to 0-4 and 0-1.
The victory came a week after the Tigers were throttled 41-0 by FRC foe Hermann.
"The week before we had not played well," said St. James head coach Greg Harlan. "To come back and get the win on Homecoming showed character on the kids' part."
With the heavy rain from earlier in the week the Tigers had to out-mud the Dutchmen.
And on the muddy field St. James turned to senior running back Jesse Hays to carry the load.
Hays accounted for 156 of the Tigers' 303 total offensive yards, rushing for 142 yards on 23 carries and a TD. He also caught a 14-yard scoring pass.
"Apparently we got about 3 1/2 inches of rain in the week and the field showed it," said Harlan, whose squad is scheduled to get a new synthetic turf field in time for the 2014 campaign. "To have Hays run for almost 150 yards showed some things to look forward to."
The Tigers took the lead for keeps in the first period, as Hays ended the opening STJ scoring drive with a one-yard TD run. The PAT attempt failed.
On the Tigers' following possession they were forced to punt and pinned the Dutchmen back to their own one yardline with the kick.
And on the first play from scrimmage following the punt St. James sophomore defensive lineman Devon Figueroa sacked Owensville junior quarterback Jesse Lowder in the endzone for a safety.
The 8-0 score stood at halftime.
St. James made it 15-0 at the 7:16 mark of the third period when Hays took a pass from sophomore quarterback Brett Karnes and raced in for a 14-yard TD. Junior Derek Hale added the PAT.
Owensville ended the scoring later in the third period on a one-yard keeper by Lowder.
It was the 14th consecutive loss over two years for Owensville. "Their record does not indicate their ability," Harlan said of the Dutchmen. "They've had a few injuries here and there.
"We've got to have that same mentality the next three or four weeks, which is the meat of our schedule."
Karnes hit on 10-of-20 passes for 145 yards for St. James, with senior wideout Jamal Sconiers catching six passes for 77 yards and senior wideout Addison Conway two receptions for 42 yards.
Page 2 of 2 - Defensively junior linebacker Cameron Orlando made nine solo tackles and two assists to pace the St. James defense.
Now the Tigers brace for perhaps their stiffest test of the season, as they travel to Moberly Friday for a non-league game (7 p.m.). Moberly is 4-0 and ranked No. 6 in the current Missouri Class 4 state poll.
The score by periods:
St. James 6 2 7 0-15
Owensville 0 0 6 0-6
The scoring plays:
St. James: Hays 1-yard run, kick fails.
St. James: safety.
St. James: Hays 14-yard pass from Karnes, Hale kick.
Owensville: Lowder 1-yard run, kick fails.
St. James Leaders
Rushing: Hays 23 for 142, Karnes 11 for 11, Sconiers 1 for 5.
Passing: Karnes 10-20-145-1.
Receiving: Sconiers 6 for 77, Conway 2 for 42, Birkner 1 for 12, Hays 1 for 14.
Tackles: Orlando 9 (solos)-2 (assists), Bradshaw 6-2, Yamnitz 5-2, Ubben 5-2, Hale 3-1, Figueroa 2-3, McCarthy 2-2, Money 2-1, Hays 3-0.
QB Sacks: Figueroa 1.