By Nate Latsch
SAINT PETERS, MO. — It was a showdown of two reigning Missouri champions and two of the top teams in the Show-Me State, but the difference in Friday night's Archdiocesan Athletic Association heavyweight battle was one player.
The University of Missouri commit rushed for 238 yards and scored a career-high five touchdowns, including a third-quarter kickoff return, to propel St. Mary's to an impressive 56-20 road victory at Lutheran-St. Charles on Friday night.
"They've got a good squad over there," Roberts said. "They won state last year, obviously. But we polished up on that L we took last week. We polished up a lot, we fixed a lot of our mistakes, and tried to come more as a team and we played better as a team."
The reigning Missouri Class 3 champions, St. Mary's (3-1, 1-0 in league play) suffered its first loss of the season a week earlier – a 21-20 defeat at Neuqua Valley in Naperville, Ill.
When the Dragons took a 21-14 lead into halftime on Friday at Lutheran-St. Charles, St. Mary's coach Ken Turner said it felt a little bit like the Neuqua Valley game.
"We made too many mistakes to win the football game," Turner said of last week's loss. "We wanted to come back this week and polish them up – we still have some stuff we can polish up after tonight; the two kickoff returns for touchdowns – so we're going to keep working at it and keep shaping and molding this football team, which is a very good football team, but we want to continue to get better."
St. Mary's responded with a big third quarter and it was Roberts who led the way.
In a span of just 26 seconds, he scored on a 99-yard run and then answered a Lutheran-St. Charles kickoff return touchdown with one of his own. After Roberts' twin brother, John, scored late in the third quarter, Jamal scored his third touchdown of the quarter on a short run with 44 seconds left.
"I felt comfortable running the ball behind my guys today," Roberts said. "It kind of started off a little slow but we picked up the pace towards the middle of the game and towards the end."
Lutheran-St. Charles, the reigning Missouri Class 2 champions, couldn't keep up.
After the Cougars cut the lead to 28-20 on the kickoff return by sophomore Riley Vander Pol with 7:13 left in the third quarter, they would not score again.
"It's one to learn from," said Lutheran-St. Charles coach Arlen Harris, whose team fell to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play. "They beat us last year and it helped us, catapulted us in the direction to go win state. I still don't want to lose. ... Saw a few bright spots, but we just have to learn how to finish."