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Gauthier leads Rams past Crusaders

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 16, 1998

EDGARD – Carl Gauthier accounted for 234 of West St. John’s 361 yards,ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead the Rams to a 26-13 victory over Christian Life Academy Friday night in the bi-district playoffs.

West St. John (8-3) will host the winner of the St. Helena-Loranger gamein the regional playoffs next week. Christian Life finished its season at 8-3.

Gauthier carried seven times for 88 yards and added 146 yards on 10 of 19 passing. Brian Lumar caught four of his passes for 51 yards and a score.Troy Lagrange had three catches for 35 yards while Donriel Louis had two for 49. Dehaven Duronslet led the ground attack with 93 yards on 15carries. Jamar Bailey added 33 on 12 attempts.Christian Life was led by quarterback Stefon Lefors who completed 18 of 34 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Clayton had ninereceptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Christian Life finished with252 yards after having only 37 yards in the first half. The Crusaders didnot pick up their first first down of the game until the 7:18 mark of the second quarter.

West St. John dominated the first half, rolling to 206 yards in totaloffense. After each team’s first drives was ended by sacks, Rysean Browngetting the one for West St. John, the Rams defense set the offense up ingood field position near the end of the first quarter. On third-and-3 fromthe 35, Randy Hilaire stepped in front of a Lefors pass at the 46 and returned it to midfield.

West St. John took quick advantage of the turnover as Duronslet took thehandoff off left tackle, broke into the open and raced down the field before being caught from behind by Clayton at the 3-yard line. Bailey doveoff the right side on the next play for the score. The two-point try failedafter the Rams were penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration but they led 6-0 with 26.5 seconds left in the opening quarter.West St. John appeared to add to its lead minutes later as Lumar took in aapunt at his 31-yard line and returned it for the score. But the play wascalled back because of a clip against the Rams.

West St. John bounced back right away, however, as Gauthier connectedwith Lumar for a 15-yard gain. Two plays later, Louis made a jugglingcatch of a Gauthier pass for a 42-yard gain to the 20-yard line. After a 2-yard gain by Duronslet, Gauthier found Lumar slanting in from the right side for the score from 18 yards out. The duo combined again for the two-point conversion, making it 14-0 with 8:04 left in the half.

West St. John turned the ball over twice near midfield at the start of thesecond half, the first on an interception by Emmanuel Bazille at the Christian Life 44-yard line, and the second on a fumble by Duronslet that was recovered by Clayton at the Rams’ 46.

Christian Life capitalized on the second turnover as Lefors found Raymond Mason and Clayton for gains of 5 and 8 yards, respectively. The Crusaderspicked up a first down at the 20 as Lefors connected with Clayton for a 12-yard gain. On the next play, Lefors split two defenders with a pass toClayton on the 5-yard line. Clayton dove into the end zone for the scoreand added the extra point, cutting the rams’ lead to 14-7 with 3:13 left in the third quarter.

West St. John answered back on its next possession. After a face maskingpenalty gave the Rams a first down at the 41, Gauthier connected with Louis for an 7-yard gain on third-and-6 from the 45-yard line. Three playslater, Duronslet made an over-the-shoulder catch of a screen pass and carried for a 11-yard gain to the Christian Life 37 as the quarter ended.

Gauthier opened the final quarter by finding Lagrange for a 9-yard pickup with Duronslet picking up the first down at the 25 with a 3-yard run.

After an illegal procedure call pushed the Rams back to the 30, Gauthier kept on the option, swept left and juked out two defenders on his way to the end zone. The try for two failed after a holding call negated an earlierconversion, but the Rams had taken a 20-7 lead with 10:27 remaining in the game.

Christian Life looked to come back on its next possession, driving to the West St. John 37-yard line. But Bazille came up a yard short on a divingcatch on fourth-and-12, turning the ball over on downs.

West St. John extended its lead on the next play as Gauthier snuck up themiddle, broke into the open, cut right to out-run one defender and cut back to his left at the 7 to juke out another to complete the 71-yard touchdown run. The try for two failed after the Rams were again penalized forexcessive celebration but they had taken a 26-7 lead with 6:52 remaining in the contest.

Christian Life added the final score two possessions later as Lefors hit Clayton on a wide receiver screen. Clayton weaved his way through thedefense, cut to the right and went down the sidelines for the 62-yard score. The try for two failed, leaving the score 26-13 with 4:07 left.West St. John ran the clock down to 2:10 and Christian Life’s final driveended at the West St. John 33-yard line as Brown pressured Lefors into anincompletion as time ran out.

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