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ESJ again undefeated heading into October

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 7, 1998

RESERVE – The more things change, the more they stay the same for the East St. John Wildcats.The Wildcats have seen players like Thomas Pittman, Franklin McKinnis, Juan Reese, Corey Sewell, Kerry Watkins, Demond Bolden and Juan Espinal – all award winners – come and go over the last three years.

The team has made a change in coaches from Lou Valdin to Ronnie Stephens this past season. But the one thing that has not changed for theWildcats over the last three years is a fast start by the team.

For the third straight season East St. John has gotten off to a 4-0 start.The Wildcats will try to make it 5-0 when they host H.L. Bourgeois Fridaynight at Joe Keller Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.East St. John will put another record on the line riday night. The Wildcatshave not lost a home game since falling to Hahnville in Week Nine of the 1996 season. East St. John was 7-0 in Joe Keller Stadium last season,including a victory over LaGrange in the bi-district playoffs.

East St. John is tied for the District 6-5A lead with a 2-0 record. H.L.Bourgeois is 1-1 in district play and 4-1 overall. The Braves have defeatedHahnville and lost to Central Lafourche in district play.

One of the reasons the Wildcats are off to a quick start is the right arm of Floyd Smith. In the Wildcats’ 21-12 victory over Terrebonne Friday, Smithcompleted 9 of his 16 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. For theseason, Smith is the leading passer in the River Parishes with 32 completions in 58 attempts for 715 yards and seven touchdowns.

Roydel Williams continues to lead the receiving corps, catching five passes for 155 yards Friday night, including a 67-yard touchdown. ChrisBush had his second straight game with over 80 yards receiving, gaining 85 yards on three carries.

Another reason for the 4-0 start is the defense which has not allowed over 13 points in any game this season. The Wildcats held Terrebonne to125 yards Friday night, including 65 on the ground.

H.L. Bourgeois is coming off a 17-6 loss to Central Lafourche Friday. TheBraves feature one of the best all-around players in the district senior Ranny Davis who has been a force on both offense and defense.

Davis, a defensive end as well as receiver, is one of eight starters returning from a year ago. Others returning on the defensive side of theball are senior linebacker Jude LeBlanc and junior defensive back Rennis Roberts.

The offense is led by its receiving corps with Davis and senior tight end Cory Ruffin. Lloyd Hampton is the quarterback with senior running backArty Champagne leading the rushing attack. Only three starters return onoffense from a team that went 3-7 last season, none on the offensive line where seniors Ben McCormick and Clarence Turner will be the leaders.

A year ago, Juan Reese led the Wildcats to a 48-24 victory over the Braves, rushing for 231 yards and three touchdowns. McKinnis and Watkinsconnected for four touchdowns as the Wildcats overcame an early 10-0 deficit.

Both teams play preseason district favorites next week as East St. Johnhosts Destrehan and Bourgeois travels to South Lafourche.

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