Rolla hosts Lebanon, St. James visits Sullivan, Waynesville hosts West Plains and Missouri S&T travels to Texas Southern

Rolla Bulldogs 3-3 (5th - Class 4 District 5) vs. Lebanon Yellowjackets 4-2

The Rolla Bulldogs are coming off a close loss last week on Senior Night to the Waynesville Tigers. Tonight will likely be the last home game of the year when Rolla faces the Lebanon Yellowjackets at 7 p.m.

Homecoming activities will take place before and during the game.

The Bulldogs are 3-3 on the season with wins over Glendale, Hillcrest and Parkview. Their losses have come to Kickapoo, West Plains and Waynesville.

Their opponent, the Yellowjackets, are 4-2 and coming off losses to the Camdenton Lakers and West Plains Zizzers. They have defeated Waynesville, Springfield Central, Glendale and Kickapoo.

Both teams are in the same district and a Rolla win would have a major impact on the postseason as Rolla is the fifth seed and Lebanon is the second-seeded team.

The Game will kick off from Rolla High School at 7 p.m.

St. James Tigers 0-6 (8th - Class 3 District 5) vs. Sullivan 3-3

The St. James football team is young this season as they continue to look for the first win of the year. Last week they fell to the St. Clair Bulldogs.

This is Homecoming for Sullivan and Head Coach Cody Davis said his players will need to keep their focus.

“Homecoming provides some changes to the time schedule and pregame warmup. It affects our practice throughout the week,” he said. “We will need to control the emotions of having a home game and be disciplined early in the game.”

At the same time, there are some things the Eagles can be excited about.

“Over the past couple of weeks Ethan Krygiel has stood out on both sides of the ball. He has rushed for over 300 yards combined in the last two weeks and has been a force at corner. Also, Carter Dace has been playing solid at running back and linebacker,” Davis noted. “Up front, Trey Eplin has anchored our offensive and defensive line in recent weeks.”

It may have been a tough outing for St. James last week, but Coach Josh Rodriguez said there were still some positives from his group.

“Although we had several turnover, we had several players make a major improvement in a couple of areas that have been a struggle for us as far as technique. I felt we competed very well early on against St. Clair until we started to have major breakdowns,” Rodriguez pointed out.

“Each week we have made improvements in little areas concerning technique and execution. For the team to take the next step we have to improve team consistency. It seems like most plays we have almost everyone doing things right and we have one assignment missed that hurts us. We have to become consistent 6-second players, fly to the ball, and block until the whistle.”

Meanwhile, Sullivan is coming off a nice outing after handing Hermann its first loss of the season.

“Our defense played really well. We had a ‘pick-6’ (interception) and held them to less than 175 yards of offense,” Davis recalled. “The only touchdown allowed was off a blocked punt where they got it on the 4-yard line. Offensively, we had some timely drives and possessed the ball for most of the second half. We had a 7-minute drive in the fourth quarter that ended in a touchdown to put us up 21-6 with only 3:30 to go.”

Sullivan rushed for 225 yards and despite two key linemen going down to injuries in the game, Davis said others stepped in and filled their roles well. If there are any areas to improve, it is on special teams.

“We need to shore up a few things on special teams. We have to use it as an opportunity to gain momentum,” he said. “Also, we need to finish some drives offensively. We moved the ball but stalled in the red zone a couple times.”

Rodriguez is still looking for some sound football across the board.

“We will continue to make personnel adjustments that better suit who we play against but it really sounds like a broken record that we just need to keep getting better at the basics of assignment football,” he said. “We have to come ready to play for four quarters of ‘Smashmouth’ football. We have spurts of playing really well then completely fall flat.”

St. James sits in eighth place in the district standings and will likely face the Blair Oaks Falcons in the first round of the district playoffs later in the year.

“We need to get in the win column to get us out of the eight seed position in our district,” Rodriguez said.

“This game will be an opportunity for us to gain points against another Class 3 school if we are able to pull off the win. It will help us gauge how we are executing and where we need to focus heading into the final weeks before districts.”

In order to get that win, Rodriguez said it will take a little more production

“We have to produce on offense and find a way to put the ball in the endzone when we have opportunities,” he said. “We have had several opportunities over the past few weeks and have not capitalized on them. Sullivan has a great running game from their double-wing offense. We have to do a better job this week of controlling gaps and playing our responsibilities.”

On the other sideline, Davis and the Eagles have a few ideas about a successful outcome as well.

“For us to win we have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That is what our identity dictates for success,” he said. “Some guys are going to need to step up into roles that they haven't been in before and play with great focus and intensity.

“We are going to try and play some guys only one way which will provide opportunities for other guys to step into roles they haven't had so far. We have made a few changes to our special teams schemes, but other than that we will continue with the things we do well. We must be disciplined in all phases of the game and we cannot do things to beat ourselves. Offensively we must stay ahead of the chains and execute our gameplan. Defensively we need to continue to play sound football and not get beat over the top.”

This game affects both teams conference standings as well.

“It is an important game for standings and the end of year conference voting,” said Davis who noted that his club is in a position to be among the top few teams with wins the rest of the season.

The game kicks off at 7 p.m.

Waynesville Tigers 4-2 (1st - Class 5 District 5) vs. West Plains 5-1

The Waynesville Tigers are having their best season in more than four years after coming off a win over the Rolla Bulldogs last Friday.

They have a tough matchup this week, though, facing the West Plains Zizzers in Waynesville. West Plains is 5-1 and a win from Waynesville would give them a tie for second in the Ozark Conference.

“We Improved to 5-1 and got everyone involved in a Friday night win.” West Plains coach Matt Perkins said about last week. “We have to clean some things up with our fundamentals and get back to some basics. Blocking and tackling at a high level yields good results.”

West Plains will be missing some depth after an injury to a two-way starter as well.

“We lost one of our two-way starters and we only had three. We are shuffling a guy or two around to make up for that loss,” he said.

A few players West Plains will certainly be relying on are senior running back Brayden Lidgard and senior quarterback Connor Rackley on the offensive side. Senior defensive end Eric Washington and junior linebacker Titus Seley will be the key players on defense.

Waynesville has defeated Kickapoo, Hillcrest, Springfield Central, and Rolla. West Plains has defeated Hillcrest, Kickapoo, Parkview, Lebanon and Rolla as well this season. Both teams have fallen to the undefeated Camdenton Lakers.

“We have to be more physical than our opponents on both sides of the ball. We rely on senior leadership on the road to keep the focus,” Perkins stated. “At home we are a bit more loose with our routine but on the road we want everything a certain way.”

The Tigers are the top seed in their district while West Plains is in third behind Bolivar and Webb City. The Tigers and Zizzers will battle at Tiger Stadium at Waynesville High School at 7 p.m.

Missouri S&T looks to extend winning streak at Texas Southern

The Missouri S&T Miners will face a team they have not faced before as they travel to Texas to take on the Texas Southern Tigers in Houston. The Tigers are a Division I school and the Miners are in Division II.

The Miners enter the contest 4-1 while the Tigers sit at 0-5. 

S&T’s only loss of the year came against Eastern New Mexico in the season opener. Texas Southern has fallen to Prairie View A&M, Incarnate Word, Louisiana, Houston Baptist and Alabama A&M and all of the games have been on the road but the first one. This will also be the Homecoming game for Texas Southern.

After last weeks 21-13 win, the Miners will be relying again on quarterback Brennan Simms to connect with his receivers. Simms is currently 12th best in Division II with 1,388 yard this season. Logan Armontrout had been his favorite target with 471 yards on the year. Deshwan Jones will also need a big game on the ground and the air also to give the Miners the spark they need.

Meanwhile, S&T is relying on safety Justin Onwugbufor and Stefan Camplin for their defensive stops.

Still looking for that first win, Texas Southern did take Alabama A&T into overtime. Devin Williams threw for 252 yards in that game and scored on two occasions. Donnie Corley leads the Tigers with 33 receptions for 456 yards on the season. He also has two touchdowns.

The game will begin at 2 p.m. You can hear the game on KMOX 95.3 as there will not be a video broadcast of it.