Wildcats looking to shake off effects of layoff against Easton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 16, 1998

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 16, 1998

RESERVE – East St. John coach Ronnie Stephens was looking forward toplaying McDonogh 35 last Friday, giving the Wildcats an opportunity to correct some of their mistakes they made in their season-opening victory at Lutcher.

But Tropical Storm Frances defeated those plans, forcing the cancellation of the game and also preventing the Wildcats from working out Saturday and Sunday. Inclement weather also limited the Wildcats to two practiceslast week.

“We are behind,” Stephens said. “It is like having to play the first gameagain.”The cancellations could also play havoc with the power point system for determining playoff spots. While the cancellations will not be held againstthe teams involved, the Wildcats would not get the points if say the Eagles won six or seven games this season.

East St. John opened the season with a 19-13 victory at Lutcher. Thedefense led the way with a late goal-line stand and setting up two scores.

East St. John ran for 55 yards and passed for 141 yards.Warren Easton also had its game at Newman canceled this weekend. TheEagles opened their season with a 26-8 victory over Fontainebleau. Juniorrunning back Larry Bailey gained 111 yards and senior running back gained 106 yards.

Tori Worrall returns at quarterback after leading the Eagles to a 4-6 record and a fourth-place finish in District 8-5A. His main weapon is widereceiver Jamaal Major, a speedy receiver who can also catch the ball in traffic. The line, led by returning starter Jarried Gaines (6-4, 303 lbs),and newcomers Samuel Walker and Donald Gilbert is one of the team’s strengths.

The Eagles have a strong secondary but are inexperienced on the line and at linebacker. Byrsih Wilson, a junior, leads the defensive backfield.”They are big upfront and have good running backs,” Stephens said. “Theyare a good offensive football team. We expect a good football game.”Stephens said the key to the game is improving on what the team did against Lutcher and cutting out mistakes. He also would like to see theWildcats shake off the first half doldrums they have had against Lutcher and in the jamboree against St. James and put four quarters together. East St. John defeated the Eagles, 35-6, behind a stifling effort by thedefense. The Wildcats held Warren Easton to 117 total yards, includingfour in the second quarter.

Smith had a big game filling in for the injured Franklin McKinnis, completing 5 of 6 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Juan Reese, onhis way to setting a season record for rushing yards, ran for 186 yards and a score. This year’s featured running back, Brandon August, added 100yards. Kerry Watkins caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns,and Roydel Williams contributed four receptions for 62 yards and also scored twice.

East St. John opens District 6-5A play next Friday at South Lafourche.Warren Easton also opens play in District 8-5A at Fortier.

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