Big second half allows STJ to pull away, 36-18.
After cutting a ribbon to dedicate the new synthetic turf field at St. James Multi-Purpose Field prior to the game Friday night, all that was needed for the finishing touches to cap a successful evening for the St. James High School football team was a victory.
The hometown Tigers got it, but not without a fight from the visiting Houston Tigers.
After a halftime tie, St. James outscored Houston 24-6 after intermission to pull away for a 36-18 non-conference win Friday.
St. James head coach Greg Harlan had predicted an improved Houston club prior to the game. And it appears he knew what he was talking about.
“Going in we knew they looked improved from last year,” Harlan said. “It was a pretty hard-fought game. In the second half we started closing the door.”
Using its double wing formation, Houston outgained St. James in offensive yardage 396-332. However, St. James broke open the close contest with three unanswered touchdowns, including one in the final seconds of the third period.
With under a minute to play in the third period senior tight end Noah Bartle caught a 17-yard scoring pass from junior QB Brett Karnes. Neither team was successful with a PAT kick or a two-point conversion run or pass attempt on the night, and after Bartle’s score St. James snapped a tie and went into the final quarter up 24-18.
St. James’ defense shut out Houston in the fourth period while the home team’s offense tacked on two more touchdowns. With 2:53 remaining sophomore running back Dawson Lynch ended a drive with an eight-yard TD run. And finishing the game senior outside linebacker Garrett Ubben picked off a Nathan Poynter pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown with no time remaining on the clock.
St. James opened the game with a 72-yard kickoff return by Lynch to set up a Karnes eight-yard TD run.
Houston tied it up 6-6 at the 8:34 mark of the second period while senior running back Scott Logan got loose for a 60-yard TD run.
St. James would regain a short-lived lead six minutes later, when Lynch scored on a five-yard run.
But Houston would tie it back up before the half ended, as senior running back Ty Wilkens scored on a nine-yard run.
It appeared St. James put itself in position to take a halftime lead when freshman Ryan Harlan returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards to the Houston seven yardline. However, a STJ penalty was called to wipe out the play and the game was tied 12-12 at intermission.
Late in the third period St. James again took the advantage when Karnes hooked up with junior wideout Michael Phillips on a 19-yard TD pass.
However, Houston scored just seconds later, as Poynter found Wilkens with a 74-yard touchdown pass to make it 18-18.
St. James went into the fourth period ahead, as with around :40 remaining in the third quarter Bartle caught his scoring toss from Karnes.
Karnes hit on 18-of-28 passes for 167 yards and rushed for 68 more yards on 21 attempts. Lynch rushed for 55 yards to go with his two TDs and long kickoff return.
Defensively Ubben had 11 total tackles - nine solo - and an interception while senior safety Jake Money had nine total tackles and an interception.
Poynter hit on 5-of-13 passes for 113 yards for Houston while Logan rushed for 110 yards on 10 carries and Wilkens ran for 95 yards on 12 attempts.
St. James opens Four Rivers Conference play on Friday, hosting Hermann (7 p.m. kickoff).
The score by periods:
St. James 6 6 12 12-36
Houston 0 12 6 0-18
The scoring plays:
St. James: Karnes 8-yard run, kick fails (11:15).
Houston: Logan 60-yard run, kick fails (8:34).
St. James: Lynch 5-yard run, conversion fails (2:33).
Houston: Wilkens 9-yard run, conversion fails (:25).
St. James: Phillips 19-yard pass from Karnes, kick fails.
Houston: Wilkens 74-yard pass from Poynter, conversion fails.
St. James: N. Bartle 17-yard pass from Karnes, conversion fails (:40).
St. James: Lynch 8-yard run, conversion fails (2:53).
St. James: Ubben 70-yard interception return (:00).
Rushing: St. James - Karnes 21 for 68, Ubben 20 for 38, Lynch 8 for 55, Money 1 for 4. Houston - Logan 10 for 110, Wilkens 12 for 95, Poynter 5 for 10, Sawyer 1 for 3, Welch 9 for 46, Knarr 2 for 19.
Passing: St. James - Karnes 18-28-167-0, Casto 0-1-0-0. Houston - Poynter 5-13-113-2.
Receiving: St. James - Money 5 for 48, Casto 5 for 50, Phillips 4 for 41, N. Bartle 2 for 25, Ubben 1 for 5, Lynch 1 for 10. Houston - Welch 2 for 23, Schock 1 for 14, Logan 1 for 2, Wilkens 1 for 74.
Tackles: St. James - Orlando 5 (solos)-1 (assist), Bradshaw 5-1, Money 4-5, Ubben 9-2, McCarthy 6-2, Glidden 3-1, Williams 4-0, Hale 2-0, Thompson 3-1.
Interceptions: St. James - Money 1, Ubben 1. Houston - none.