Area football previews for the Rolla Bulldogs, St. James Tigers and Missouri S&T Miners

Missouri S&T Miners (5-3) vs Southwest Baptist Bearcats (3-5)

The Miners will host the Bearcats from Southwest Baptist University this Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Miners are coming off a loss to the Indy Greyhounds in Indiana, while SBU fell to McKendree on the road in Lebanon, Ill.

The Miners have wins over Division I Texas Southern, Azusa Pacific, Miles, William Jewell and Quincy. Two of their losses were to higher Great Lakes Valley Conference teams, Truman State and Indy. They also lost a close game to Eastern New Mexico in the first game of the year.

They will need a big game from Brennan Simms again as he has produced his fair share of touchdowns this season. Deshawn Jones will need to have a good game on the ground as well to give the Miners an advantage.

The Bearcats wins are against Williams Jewell, Central State University and Kentucky Wesleyan. They have two losses to Truman State and losses to Indy and Quincy also.

SBU has quarterback Brendan Smith, who in the last game totaled over 200 yards in the air and on the ground. Bryce Cabrera was just shy of 100 yards on the ground last week. 

St. James Tigers (0-9) at Blair Oaks Falcons (9-0)

The Tigers go into the first round of the Class 3 District 5 tournament on the road to face the defending Class 2 state champion Blair Oaks Falcons. The Falcons currently have the state’s longest winning streak at 24 games. Their last loss was in the 2017 State Championship to Maryville.

The Tigers fell last week to Pacific 0-35 on Senior Night. The Tigers closest game this season were against the Cuba Wildcats and Owensville Dutchmen. Both of those games were lost by 17 points. 

St. James is led by seniors Nick Halbrook and Rustin Branum at the quarterback position. Both of them have combined for close to 600 yards on the season. Halbrook also is the leader in rushing with 436 yards.

The Falcons are coming into the game with a 41-0 win over California. They have scored more than 50 points three times this season and more than 40 in six games. 

The game will begin at 7 p.m., at Blair Oaks High School, just south of Jefferson City.

Rolla Bulldogs (4-5) at Helias Crusaders (8-1)

Rolla will travel to Jefferson City where they will face Helias at 7 p.m., tonight in the first round of the Class 4 District 5 playoffs.

The Bulldogs began the season with a 3-1 record with wins over Glendale, Hillcrest and Parkview. Their lone loss was to state-ranked West Plains on the road. Rolla then lost four straight games to Kickapoo, Waynesville, Lebanon and Camdenton. Last week the team got back on the right track and defeated Springfield Central on the road 58-6.

The Bulldogs will need a big game from senior quarterback Jack Hounsom who leads the team with 586 passing yards and six touchdowns. Isaac Hunter will be a key target after catching 16 passes for 411 yards and five of those touchdowns.

Senior Colton Franks is leading Rolla on the ground this season with 616 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Dewitt Pritchett is the other main rusher with his 391 yards and six touchdowns, Malachi Ray has totaled 375 yards and five touchdowns and Hounsom also has 286 rushing yards with four scores of his own. 

The Crusaders are 8-1 with their only loss to Class 6 DeSmet in St. Louis County. They had an earlier loss to Cardinal Ritter, but their season was forfeited and the win was awarded to the Crusaders.