St. James Tigers 0-4 vs. Cuba Wildcats 1-3

The Tigers will have their second home game in a row when they face the neighboring Cuba Wildcats Friday night.

Last week, St. James had a close game with the Owensville Dutchmen where the Tigers fell 6-23 at the end. It was the closest game of the year for St. James. The Cuba team is coming off a 14-0 win over Grandview (Hillsboro).

“We started to figure out how to move the ball more consistently,” Cuba coach Tim Duarte said about last week.

“We need to find ways to finish drives. We have struggled in the red zone.”

This is a non-conference game for both teams but still has an effect on their districts. Cuba is in Class 2 and is sitting in seventh place in its district. They will get a bonus for playing up a class with the Class 3 Tigers.

One thing that has changed for Cuba this week is that its tight end will be at full strength.

“We are going to have our tight end at a full week of practice for the first time so we will be able to rep some things we haven’t been able to do,” Duarte noted.

The Tigers have had a good week of weather to implement some new strategies this week and stop big plays. One thing Duarte and the Wildcats will be looking out for is the signal caller over in St. James.

“Their quarterback is quick and shifty. They like to get the ball in his hands and run,” he said. “It will be important for us to find a way to slow him down and keep him contained.”

Meanwhile, the Wildcats expect a good game from their own quarterback.

“Our quarterback Conner Gipson had a great game against Grandview and I expect more of the same this week. He ran the ball hard and gave us something we could build on,” Duarte noted.

Gipson had 239 yards rushing. Dylan Keogh had 11 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

Ultimately, a win for Cuba will take some execution- as is generally the case for any given Friday night.

“We will need to execute and finish. I have been preaching it all week,” Duarte stated. “If we just finish out drives we will be fine. We sort of have a mental block when it comes to St. James because they have beat us every year. This year our group of kids are a little bit different. They have already had to overcome a lot so I think they will be unfazed.”

The game will be at 7 p.m. behind St. James High School.

Rolla Bulldogs 3-1 vs. Kickapoo Chiefs 1-3

The Bulldogs will be on the road for the second week in a row when they travel to Kickapoo for another Ozark Conference showdown.

This will be another chance for Rolla to get a boost in districts as the Chiefs are a Class 6 school. That means they will get bonus points in the district standings for playing up in class.

Rolla is coming off a 46-6 win over Parkview last week while the Chiefs lost to the West Plains Zizzers 19-40.

Rolla coach Jon Franks said there were some positives that came out of the previous week against the Vikings.

“We are continuing to improve and gain our identity and the confidence of the players,” the coach said.

It was a tough night for Kickapoo in week four against West Plains, but Chiefs coach Nate Thomas also saw some positives.

“Thought we made a very efficient and high-powered offense snap the ball more than they were used to. Forced them to snap it 16 times on their first drive and 14 their second,” the coach noted. “Hard to do against the talented skill kids they have.”

The Chiefs are in the beginning of a three-week home series. They host Rolla, Glendale and Springfield Central before ending on the road.

“We need to have a great home stand here with three in a row at home to move ourselves up in our district standings,” Thomas said.

The Kickapoo district stretches from Joplin to St. Louis, but the Chiefs have the opportunity to take care of business now in the grind that is the Ozark Conference.

“Our entire schedule is conference games so each and every week is very important,” Thompson said. “We just gotta be more consistent across the board in every phase. Think that has to be addressed as well as our mental mistakes.”

Of course, Rolla would like to move up in the district standings as well.

“A win would keeps us in a place to hopefully have a home game round one,” Franks said.

The Rolla Bulldogs are on their final road game after two trips to Springfield in two weeks. They will be at home against Springfield Central next Friday.

“We try and treat every game the same with our preparation, practice and effort,” Franks said.

As for Kickapoo, Thomas has a blueprint for the Bulldogs.

“We need to control Rolla’s running game. Got to be great on third down on both sides of the ball and limit our penalties,” he said. “Do these and mark off our goal of zero turnovers and we’ ll be in a position to win. We got to be physical up front on both sides of the ball and be a sound option in our responsibilities when on defense.”

Franks also laid out what it would take to beat Kickapoo.

“We will have to make sure to contain their big play offense. We will need ball security and execution as well as to not allow any big plays on defense,” he said. “We also want no turnovers.”

The Bulldogs will play at 7 p.m. at Kickapoo High School in Springfield on Friday night.

Missouri S&T Miners 2-1 vs. William Jewell Cardinals 1-2

The Miners will travel to Liberty this week and take on William Jewel in their Great Lakes Valley Conference season opener. The Cardinals lost their first conference game to Lindenwood who picked up their first GLVC win in school history.

“We played well last week on offense and defense. Offensively it was the second week in a row that they have really performed well,” Miners coach Todd Drury said about last week’s win against Miles College.

He also added that this week they improved on special teams and red zone scoring.

The Miners will be looking to have big performances from Stefan Camplin and Brennan Simms. Last week Camplin was the GLVC Defensive Player of the Week and Simms was the GLVC Offensive Player of the Week.

Simms is on pace to be one of the top quarterbacks in Miners history with numbers not seen in years. He has 747 passing yards this season with nine touchdowns from the air and four on the ground for 13 in three games.

As encouraging as it may be, it will take a full team effort to top the Cardinals.

“Win explosive plays and turnovers. We must play fast, relentless, smart and tough,” Drury said about what they must do to win the game on Saturday.

The Miners will play at William Jewell College at 5 p.m.