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Rams, Eagles battle for second in District 9-2A

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 28, 1998

EDGARD – West St. John can celebrate a second place finish in District 9-2A along with Homecoming Friday night with a win against Ridgewood.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.The Rams enter the contest with a 5-3 record overall and a 2-1 record in district play. Ridgewood is also 2-1 in district and 5-2 overall.West St. John is coming off a hard-fought, last-minute 32-24 win at St.Charles Catholic last Friday. The Rams’ defense came up with a crucialgoal-line stand with the Comets leading 24-20 and driving for the winning score with four minutes left. Carl Gauthier then led the Rams on a 95-yarddrive, beginning with a 37-yard completion to Donriel Louis and culminating with offensive lineman Cody Francis recovering a fumble in the end zone for the go-ahead score. Pendarvis Morris sealed the win byreturning an interception 35 yards for a score as time ran out.

“We needed something like that,” West St. John coach Laury Dupont said ofthe defensive stand and subsequent drive. “It makes a difference. It malesthe players really want to go to practice now.

“It was hard fought by both sides. You wish nobody had to lose butsomebody had to. It was a good football game for the fans.”The Rams’ offense came alive for the second straight week with 380 yards in total offense. Jamar Bailey gained 128 yards on 17 carries. DehavenDuronslet, recovering from a knee injury, added 76 yards on 12 attempts.

Gauthier completed 11-of-19 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Gauthier has now passed for over 930 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

The Rams defense allowed 340 yards to the Comets but held when it had to. This week the Rams will face a Ridgewood team that features one ofthe top runners in the metro area.

Jason Keyes led the metro area in Class 2A through six games with 780 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 130 yards a game. But in theEagles’ 48-14 loss to Riverside Friday night, Keyes was held to 4 yards on 10 carries.

It was an all-around bad night for the Eagles who, before a late first half drive, were held to a negative nine yards in total offense. They wouldfinish the game 67 total yards and two first downs. Ridgewood’s onlyscores came on a 4-yard run by Keyes and a 62-yard fumble return by Ryan Zimmerman, both when the game was out of reach.

The Eagles are quarterbacked by Keith Champagne who was held to 40 yards on 5-of-16 passing against the Rebels. Tight end Chris Anderson,guard Armando Soza and tackle Josh Woolery lead the push up front.

The Ridgewood defense had allowed only 55 games before being blitzed for 48 points and 327 yards against the Rebels. Riverside gained 230 yards onthe ground on 32 attempts. On special teams, Dupont said he did not wantto get into a kicking battle with the Eagles, not with college prospect Jonathan Ruffin doing the placekicking.

“They are the same type of football team as last year,” Dupont said. “Theylike to spread the offense. They have a good little back. On defense, theyrun a 50 although they may go to the 40 in pass situations. They like to doa lot of movement with their noseguard. They are a real good footballteam.”Dupont said the ending of last week’s game will help the Rams as the season draws to a conclusion, showing that they could handle the pressure.

“Being Homecoming week, you worry about distractions,” Dupont said.

“But we have a lot to play for. We have a lot of initiative and a lot to lookforward to.”A year ago, the Rams clinched the district title with a 26-17 victory at Ridgewood. Adair Alexander threw for three touchdowns and Joseph Grossadded 132 yards and a score on the ground.

The Rams host Ellender in a non-district game next week while Ridgewood travels to St. Charles Catholic.

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