The St. James High School football team is not at all sure who will be the Pacific Indians' starting quarterback tonight.
The Indians probably aren't either.
In a matchup of Four Rivers Conference rivals who have been plagued by injuries this season, Pacific comes to St. James to take on the Tigers tonight. Kickoff at St. James High Field is set for 7 p.m.
It will be St. James Senior Night.
The Tigers enter with a 3-5 overall and 1-4 FRC record. Pacific is 1-7 and 0-5. Last week St. James fell to Union 43-6 while Pacific was beaten by Hermann 48-8.
St. James is trying to snap a four-game losing streak while Pacific has dropped its last seven contests.
Due to injuries and ineffectiveness the Indians have started four different quarterbacks this season.
Pacific opened the season with junior Eain Roberts under center. However, he was hurt in Game 2 and was replaced by sophomore Lucas Zurliene, who quarterbacked from Game 2-6 and hit on 39-of-87 passes for 357 yards, seven interceptions and one TD.
In Game 7 the team's top receiver, senior Chris Klenke, was moved to QB and completed 15-of-34 passes for 131 yards and four picks. And last week junior Josh Vondriska, also normally a wideout, got the call and went 8-for-18 for 79 yards and four interceptions.
This week? Who knows?
"They're kind of battling the injury bug, like we have," said St. James head coach Greg Harlan of Pacific. "The quarterback they had planned on using to start the season went down and they have struggled against some of the top teams in our conference.
"We're looking at it as a chance to get a win. I think it will come down to the team who makes the fewest mistakes."
Both teams would love a win this week to finish has high in their respective district standings prior to the opening of the district playoffs next week and – in St. James' case – possibly earn a home berth for Week 10.
In Class 3 District 2 John Burroughs is currently seeded No. 1 with 57.28 points while Cardinal Ritter is No. 2 with 39.81 points, Soldan No. 3 at 39.75, St. James No. 4 at 29.64, Bishop DuBourg No. 5 at 25.43, Owensville No. 6 at 20.93 and John F. Kennedy No. 7 at 13.36.
In Class 4 District 3 Ladue Horton Watkins is currently seeded No. 1 with 47.02 points, Westminster Christian No. 2 at 42.77, Sullivan No. 3 at 40.96, Union No. 4 at 39.36, Priory No. 5 at 34.06, St. Francis Borgia No. 6 at 31.86, St. Clair No. 7 at 28.16 and Pacific No. 8 at 18.14.
St. James and Pacific have put up similar type numbers and, according to Harlan, play a similar style of ball.
St. James is averaging 17.8 points per game while allowing an average of 36.4. During their current four-game losing skid the Tigers have allowed 202 points (50.5 per game).
Page 2 of 2 - The Indians are averaging 12.8 points while allowing 34.0.
"Offensively and defensively we run similar stuff," Harlan said. "And if you look at some of our common opponents it looks to be a close game. We played Owensville in a wet game and beat them and Owensville turned around and beat Pacific 17-14."
With the uncertainty at QB, the Indians would love to establish a strong ground game behind senior running back Tanner Brown. Brown has rushed for 241 yards on 45 attempts and two TDs. Last week against Hermann he ran for 117 yards.
Klenke has caught 17 passes for 247 yards while Vondriska has 19 catches for 142 yards.
Junior linebacker Dalton Voyles leads the Indians in tackles with 87 while senior lineman Logan Wells has 53.
"They have a running back who is a hard runner," Harlan said. "We've got to be able to tackle and get him on the ground. They probably run more than they have previously."
For the Tigers sophomore quarterback Brett Karnes has completed 82-of-163 passes for 957 yards, nine interceptions and eight touchdowns while rushing for 255 yards and three TDs.
Senior wideout Jamal Sconiers has caught 31 passes for 447 yards to lead the Tigers while senior wideout Addison Conway has 17 catches for 187 yards and junior wideout Jake Money has 16 catches for 153 yards.
The Tigers' top rusher, senior running back Jesse Hays, did not play on offense last week due to a strained Achilles tendon. He has 567 rushing yards on 107 carries and three TDs.
Junior linebacker Cameron Orlando leads St. James in tackles with 52 solos and 76 total while junior linebacker Garrett Ubben has 46 solos and 61 total and Money, a defensive back, has 36 solos and 53 total.