At the conclusion of their football game here in Week 5, the Spartans will say goodbye to St. James and will soon say hello to a different breed of Tigers who are located just 25 miles north of town.
Moberly will rekindle its Highway 63 rivalry of yesteryear with Macon - who willreplace St. James on the schedule - for the next 2-year cycle starting in 2014.
In addition, when St. James (3-1) arrives here Friday night to Dr. Larry K. Noel Spartans Stadium, it will be a matchup of a two schools who are riding the coat tails of celebrating homecoming victories a week ago.
St. James (3-1) is coming off a 15-6 homecoming victory against their Four Rivers Conference rival Owensville last Friday.
Meanwhile Moberly (4-0) thrashed previously unbeaten North Central Missouri Conference rival Fulton by a healthy 43-7 margin.
This will be the second meeting in school history for both football programs. Last season, the Spartans made the 2-hour 10-minute journey south near Rolla to play at Class 3 St. James and returned home earning a solid 52-14 triumph.
Taking those numbers into consideration, the Tigers have defeated their opponents by an average score of 26-22 this fall while the Spartans have marched past their opponents by an average score of 38 to 11.
However, when looking at a different set of numbers, for the first time and perhaps only time this 2013 season tomorrow night Moberly will have a decisive advantage with numbers associated on the weight scale and measuring stick.
“I think St. James is similar in some things like defense to what we do, and maybe a couple of things we do offensively. But there is a big difference in the physicality and the size of our two football teams. They are not a very big football team size-wise as we are meaning in that St. James has maybe four kids who weigh over 200-pounds and about three kids who stand over 6-foot tall. Compare that to us, there is a pretty big difference there,” said Moberly football coach Jason Ambroson.
According to the Spartans roster, Moberly lists 16 players who weight at least 200 lbs. or greater and they have 25 athletes who stand at least 6-foot or taller.
“Looking at numbers, I would have to say we have the advantage in terms of size and physical perspective but it all comes down to how well the kids go out and play the game and perform during a football game. I’ve seen teams who are smaller in size having more quickness and better execution go out and beat a more physical team before,” said Ambroson. “The outcome for success will come down to us playing to the best of our ability and doing the things we need to do to win this football game.”
St. James comes to town having more underclassmen playing varsity football this season than Moberly.
Tigers sophomore quarterback Brett Karnes has connected on 46-of-82 passes for 639 yards, three interceptions and seven touchdowns so far this football season. Senior wideout Jamal Sconiers has caught 18 passes for 286 yards and three TDs while senior wideout Cody Birkner has 15 catches for 167 yards and two TDs and junior wideout Jake Money has eight catches for 118 yards and a TD.
Junior running back Jesse Hays has rushed for 371 yards on 23 carries through Week 4, while Karnes has rushed for 94 yards on 24 attempts.
Ambroson said his squad will enter Friday’s game with an open mind in not trying to guess what St. James will want to do with the football or their plan of attack to try and stop the Spartans from moving the chains. Instead, Ambroson said his staff and players will need to be ready to adapt and react accordingly to things that are presented to them.
“Our opponents have lined up differently in every game we’ve played, trying different things to stop us. I think my coaching staff has done a great job so far making changes that are needed and our kids have followed up very well by adapting to those situations, and in doing so our team has been successful. St. James is a program we are not very familiar with and cannot prepare a game plan against them like we can with the teams in our conference or against those schools that other Moberly sports teams play against. That’s because we know what kind of kids our conference schools have or other popular schools that we play like a Blair Oaks or Osage. When you see the play in basketball, wrestling or baseball, you can see the type of kids they have and get an idea about the skill level they will bring to a football team.”
“We just don’t know a whole lot about the St. James kids, and it’s probably about as much as a difference for us as we are on them. That’s why it’s more important that we need to focus on us.”
According to this morning’s AccuWeather.com’s forecast for Friday night’s kickoff at 7 p.m., expect mostly clear skies and temperature to be in the mid-70s.