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St. James, Rams prepare to go to the wire again

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 2, 1998

ST. JAMES – If Friday night’s game between St. James and West St. John isanything like the last two matchups between the squads, fans are advised to not leave the stadium until the final horn.

Two years ago, St. James led 19-12 in the final minute with West St. Johndriving deep in Wildcat territory. With 20 seconds left, Travis Smithintercepted a pass by Adair Alexander at the 4-yard line and returned it the distance to preserve the victory.

Last year, it was West St. John holding a 20-16 advantage heading into thefinal seconds. With the clock winding down, St. James’ Corey Websterlofted a desperation pass into the back of the end zone where Dawn Green made an over-the-shoulder catch with four seconds left to give the Wildcats a 22-20 victory.

Both teams have used the thrillers as springboards to bigger things. Boththe Wildcats and Rams have been perennial powerhouses in the 1990s with each capturing five straight district championships. Last season, bothteams advanced to the state semifinals in Classes 3A and 2A. This yearshould see little difference as both teams are favored once again to win their districts.

West St. John is coming off a scoreless tie against Hahnville in the RiverParishes Jamboree Thursday night. The defense, sparked by defensive backBrent Poche, who intercepted a pass and forced a fumble on a sack, held Hahnville to 90 yards, all on the ground. Donriel Louis added aninterception as the Rams forced four turnovers.

The Rams offense gained 66 yards with Dehaven Duronslet leading the way with 32 yards on 12 carries. Carl Gauthier completed 5-of-17 passes for42 yards and was intercepted once. The Rams also lost three fumbles asthe muggy weather created a slippery football.

The St. James offense gained 160 yards with 135 coming on the ground.Chad Jasmin, picking up where he left off after gaining over 400 yards in the playoffs last season, rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. One of the touchdowns came on a 70- yard run. Devon Dabneyadded 43 yards on seven carries. Corey Webster connected with Rey Weberfor a 24-yard gain to set up another touchdown near halftime.

West St. John coach Laury Dupont said that the last two games have been awar and that he does not expect this year’s game to be any different.

“The last couple of years we have played pretty good ball against them,” Dupont said. “We are going to have to play almost an error-free game justto be with them in the fourth quarter. They are solid in all aspects. Their defense plays good. Chad Jasmin is one of the best in the state and theyhave other weapons. Those guys can play. It is going to be a handfull. It isgood for the community and for the kids. That is what high school footballis about. It is going to be a fun time.”St. James is riding a four-game winning streak in the series.West St. John hosts Plaquemine next week. St. James is also at homeagainst Assumption.

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