Rams enjoyed successful season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / December 8, 1999

EDGARD – Six yards.

That’s how far West St. John came from advancing to its second straightClass 2A state championship game this season. But a couple ofuncharacteristic mistakes ended the Rams’ season one game short of their goal of repeating as state champions.

Trailing Iota 26-20 in the semifinals Friday night, the Rams drove from their 28 to the Bulldog 6-yard line in the final six minutes of the game. Onfirst down from that point, West St. John was called for having 12 men inthe huddle, pushing the Rams back to the 11. After Carl Gauthier threwincomplete, an errant center-quarterback exchange moved the Rams to the 14.

Gauthier was pressured on third down and was almost intercepted in the end zone by Kyle Richey. Richey dropped the pass, giving the Rams one lastshot but Gauthier pass on fourth down sailed high through the end zone.

West St. John, which usually cashed in when it drove into oppositionterritory, failed to do so consistently Friday night. In the first quarter,the Rams drove to the Iota 8- and 36-yard lines but Gauthier was intercepted on each possession. A third drive to the Iota 27 was haltedwhen the Rams were stopped on fourth down.

West St. John held Iota to one score in the first half and took an 8-6 leadinto the half on an 84-yard kickoff return by Jeremy Lumar. A fumble byIota on the first series of the second half set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Gauthier. After an Iota score, Gauthier again scored from eight yardsout on the Rams next possession to make it 20-12 heading into the fourth quarter.

But the Rams’ defense, which had held Iota in check except for two big runs by Jason Miller and Dylan Navarre, allowed two big runs by Navarre in the fourth quarter. The first was an 82-yard run down the left sidelines tobring Iota to within 20-18. West St. John appeared ready to answer on itsnext drive as a roughing-the-punter call gave the Rams a first down at the Iota 40. But a holding call pushed the Rams back and a pass interferencecall negated a 49-yard touchdown pass to Brian Lumar. Navarre thenscored on a 49-yard run to put the Bulldogs ahead for good.

“We didn’t make the plays when we needed to,” West St. John coach lauryDupont said. “You can’t win a game against a good football team when youmake mental mistakes and we did that. We walked off the field feelinglike we were the better football team but theu made the plays and we didn’t.”It was a disappointing ending to a season in which the West St. Johnplayers had nothing to be disappointed in. The Rams finished the season at10-3, extending their streak of seasons with nine-plus wins to eight and their string of semifinal appearances to three.

West St. John defeated St. James in the season opener to break theirlosing streak against the Wildcats. The Rams reached No. 1 in Class 2Aduring the season and their only losses during the regular season were to Newman and Riverside, both of whom reached the state regionals. TheRams avenged the latter loss with a 38-0 victory in the regionals.

Gauthier led the River Parishes with 2,848 yards passing and 34 touchdowns and was the District 9-2A offensive MVP with over 3,300 total yards. Brian Lumar had 67 catches for 1,009 yards and scored 13touchdowns. Jeremy Lumar returned four kicks for touchdowns andreturned one of his six interceptions for a score.

“It was a good year,” Dupont said. “I told the kids they had nothing to bedisappointed in. We accomplished a lot of great things. We had another 10-game winning season, we avenged the loss to Riverside and we were the last team left in the River Parishes. I look at the positives not thenegatives.”

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