St. Vincent builds district momentum

Monday, October 23, 2006

St. Vincent's hopes of winning a ninth district championship since 1994 and 11th in school history look a lot better this week than they did two weeks ago.

The Indians won their second straight game on Friday night, beating Chaffee 35-3 in the Class 1 District 2 opening week.

In addition, the primary district contender, Hayti, showed some vulnerability with a 28-19 loss to Class 2 Scott City in Week 7. Hayti (6-2) had rolled off four straight wins since a loss to Malden in Week 2.

Hayti opened district play Friday with a 42-12 win against Portageville, scoring two late touchdowns to pull away and setting the stage for a Nov. 2 showdown at St. Vincent.

Still, Indians coach Keith Winkler wasn't taking anything for granted.

"I've felt since the start this district was wide open," Winkler said. "Chaffee really scared me. They've got an improved ballclub, and coach [Charlie] Vickery does a nice job. They come off the ball and they run hard."

Winkler said his own team is "progressing."

"We did a lot of the right things tonight," he said. "We played better against the run. We had started the season playing well against the run and then kind of lost that focus. It was good to see it back tonight."

Chaffee had just three first downs, 99 yards rushing and 105 yards of total offense through the first three periods, when all the scoring was done. Both teams substituted freely in the final period. Winkler seemed most pleased with a defensive stand early in the game that limited Chaffee to a field goal after the Indians' punting attempt had gone awry.

The Indians also recovered one fumble and had interceptions by Justin L'Hote, which set up the last TD, and Aaron Dzik.

Offensively, Greg Finger followed his 200-yard, five-touchdown game against Grandview with 117 yards on 10 carries. He had 118 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns in the second half.

"Finger has played well," Winkler said. "He was a center when he was a sophomore, played receiver last year and started out there this year until we put him in at tailback."

Lucas Robinson added 70 yards on 16 carries. L'Hote caught three balls for 50 yards.

One of the low points for St. Vincent this season was its last loss, a 34-3 defeat against a Crystal City team that has the potential for a long run in the Class 2 playoffs. Facing competition like the Hornets and Potosi may pay off for St. Vincent in the long run.

"I think it helped to play a team like that, but Hayti's done the same thing," Winkler said. "There aren't a lot of Class 1 schools you can play, so you play those bigger schools and you see some speed and see what they do."

Mr. Versatility

St. Vincent fullback Chris Fischer carried only five times for 17 yards but he also played defensive line and played the trumpet for the band during the halftime show, even singing a few bars of "Help Me Rhonda," which the 28-piece band played to close its show.

What a kick

Andrew Hendrix's field goal for Chaffee meant that each of the six schools in the Southeast Missourian coverage area have successfully kicked a field goal.

St. Vincent's Robinson booted a 41-yarder with room to spare for his fifth field goal in six attempts. He has converted three from 40 or more yards.

The long run

Chaffee's longest run of the night was a 30-yard jaunt by sophomore Collin Dannenmueller in the first period. Dannenmueller fumbled at the end of the run, and St. Vincent recovered. But after the Indians were unable to get off a punt, Chaffee turned the field position into three points.

Injury report

In the second period, Chaffee lost junior running back Jerrod Steger to a knee injury. He was wearing an immobilizer by the end of the night.

Playoff thoughts

With more discussion taking place about changing the state football playoff system, Winkler reiterated his belief that the playoff system shouldn't be changed. He especially opposes a playoff that might allow teams that lose in district play to enter a playoff bracket. "That makes it double-elimination," he said. "Does that mean if my team goes undefeated to the state championship game and we lose to a team that lost in the district that we get to play them again?"

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