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Saints bested by Windom in season finale

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

For the second week in a row, the St. James Area football team fell behind big early, leading to a 46-8 victory for the Windom Eagles on Thursday night.

The Saints couldn't stop Windom's rushing attack in the first quarter, surrendering 30 points in the opening frame, with Carter Vancura finding the endzone twice on back to back possessions. Vancura struck again in the second quarter, and the Eagles took a 46-0 advantage into halftime.

"It does make a difference because you try to defend the power side and things like that," said head coach Jon Wilson. "It makes it a little bit tougher because their run game is fairly easy to figure out but if they keep moving around formations and whatnot, they put pressure on us to make sure we're lined up right. We struggled to get lined up right."

On their opening drive of the second half, the Saints found their offense.

Facing a third and eight, quarterback Hunter Stevens found Hayden Jones for an 18 yard gain. The pair connected again for 12 yards on a 2nd and 13, and a 3rd and 1.

Jones missed the previous two games due to quarantine. Even with Jones back in the lineup, Stevens took the majority of snaps under center.

"He makes a huge difference on offense," said Wilson. "Originally he was the quarterback and then he was gone and then Hunter grows as a quarterback and we're able to use Hayden in a lot of different spots. We can use him at quarterback, a wide receiver, the slot, different wings, and things like that. Looking forward, there's a lot of good things we can do offensively when he's in the game. We have a lot more versatility when Hayden is in the game."

A defensive pass interference penalty on freshman safety Tucker Renquist set the Saints up inside the red zone.

Facing another third and long, Stevens ran for an 18-yard touchdown—including a dive over Renquist at the goal line— marking the first points the Saints have scored on their home turf.

"In that second half we told the guys were going to go back to basics and run the offense we want to start running in the future a little bit and I think they executed well," said Wilson. "The guys ran hard and they didn't quit on us and I was pleased with how we were able to move the ball."

Prior to kickoff, St. James honored their two seniors, James Gutierrez and Rodolfo Arreola. Wilson commended the two for staying with the program through difficult times.

"I can't say enough about those two guys. With everything that's gone on they've stuck with it, they've stuck with us. They didn't complain about anything we were trying to do to better the program. They are hats off the best seniors we could have had this year. They love playing with the team."

The Saints will not play a playoff game, opting to hold an intrasquad game on Thursday instead.