St. James looking to keep traditions alive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 1998

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 11, 1998

ST. JAMES – It is that time of the year again.Christmas decorations start going up in the malls, the days are getting shorter and the St. James Wildcats are preparing for their annual runthrough the state playoffs.

For six straight seasons, the Wildcats have advanced to at least the quarterfinals and have made the trip to the Superdome twice. St. James,9-1 overall, has already extended its streak of district championships to six and needs one more to continue its string of 10-win seasons to seven.

In order to do that, however, the Wildcats must first defeat Cecilia, its opponent Friday night in the state bi-district playoffs.

St. James, ranked second in Class 3A, finished the regular season with a34-8 victory over Donaldsonville to clinch the District 10-3A title outright. Chad Jasmin rushed for two touchdowns, Corey Webster threwfor two more and the St. James defense held the Tigers to 59 total yardsin offense.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 21-0 in the first quarter thanks to the play of their special teams. The Wildcats blocked a punt and forced the Tigersto shank two more, setting up the offense in good field position.

Jasmin finished the evening with 62 yards on seven carries while playing only the first half. Brian Batiste added 34 yards on seven carries as theWildcats gained 188 yards on the ground. Webster completed touchdownpasses of 14 to Rey Weber and 22 yards to Justin Aubert.

Jasmin led District 10-3A in rushing this season with 1,294 yards and 20 touchdowns on 146 carries. Devon Dabney was second on the team with394 yards and five touchdowns on 48 attempts.

Webster completed the season with 43 completions in 104 tries for 668 yards and seven touchdowns. He also carried the ball 48 times for 297yards and eight touchdowns. Webster’s major targets have been Weberwith 15 catches for 175 yards, and Alvin Bartholomew with seven catches for 141 yards.

Defensively, the Wildcats are giving up just over 10 points per game. St.James has forced 24 turnovers (16 interceptions and eight fumbles) while giving up an average of 2.9 yards per rush. Cecilia finished third in District 6-3A with a 7-3 record and made the playoffs as a wildcard qualifier. The Bulldogs closed out their season witha 31-20 victory against Church Point.

Cecilia is a young team with just six seniors and five returning starters.

The Bulldogs overcame a number of injuries early in the season to make the playoffs, the most serious of which was to quarterback Ty Guidry in the first game.

Guidry came back four games ago and the offense has began to click as it got the rest of its starters back as well.

The Bulldogs run out of the I formation with a twin-wide receiver alignment. St. James coach Rick Gaille said they are a power running teamthat likes to go deep down field with the pass and will pass about a third of the time. The offense is led by split end Willie Dartez, linemenJonathan Autrey and Derrick Robin and running backs Lucas Sam and Jeremy Robert.

Defensively, the Bulldogs run the 4-3 with a three-deep secondary.

Linebackers Derek Brashear and John Chevalier lead the defense.

Gaille said his team must be able to handle the football in order to come away with the win.

“We have to move the ball offensively,” Gaille said. “Defensively, we needto put pressure on the quarterback and our secondary has got to really fly to the ball so they can make the plays.

The winner of Friday night’s game plays the winner of the Kaplan-Belle Chasse game next week in regionals.

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