Rams face large task at Ouachita Christian

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 15, 2000

EDGARD – West St. John faces a big opponent in Ouachita Christian Fridaynight in the Class 2A regionals.

The emphasis is on big.

“They are probably the biggest team we’ve ever faced,” West St. John headcoach Laury Dupont said.

Friday’s kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Monroe. West St. John knows theroute, having played at Ouachita Christian in the semifinals in 1997.

West St. John goes into Friday’s game with an 8-2 record after defeatingVinton, 38-6, in the bi-district round last Friday. The Rams rolled behind 348yards in offense, 301 on the ground. Devin Herbert led the way with 240yards and four touchdowns, including touchdown runs of 97 and 52 yards.

Both were backbreakers as the first came after a defensive stop inside the five and the second with four seconds left in the half.

“Those were a couple of backbreakers,” Dupont said. “We haven’t had a lotof big plays with the run this year but it was a good time for it to happen.”The defense again stepped up, holding Vinton to 286 yards in offense and forcing five turnovers. Kevin Taylor returned an interception 33 yards for atouchdown and Coy Miller recovered two fumbles within a 30-second period.

“The defense has played consistent all year,” Dupont said. “We’ve bent alittle bit but except for the Riverside game, we haven’t given up many points.”West St. John will be facing a Ouachita Christian team that has put up a lotof points on the scoreboard. Through the first 11 games, the Eagles areaveraging 35 points per game. The Eagles have done it both on the groundwith 2,043 yards (185.7 average) and through the air with 1,469 yards(133.5 per game).Ouachita Christian is coming off a 33-0 victory over Opelousas Catholic in the bi-district playoffs. The shutout was the fourth for the Eagles this yearand improved them to 8-3 on the season.

Josh Schmidt leads the rushing attack for Ouachita Christian. The seniorback gained 1,205 yards and 19 touchdowns on 219 carries. John Laird, afreshman, had another 409 yards and four touchdowns on 80 carries.

Junior Cam Rowan is the quarterback. Rowan completed 88 of his 174 passesfor 1,401 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Senior Dennis Burkeis his favorite target, having caught 40 passes for 736 yards and 11 touchdowns. Any Bryant had 13 catches for 246 yards and also led the teamwith a 28.2 average on punt returns. He returned three for touchdowns.But the strength of the offensive line is its offensive line. Seniors RudyNiswanger and Brandon Hurley have both already committed to LSU. Bothalso play on the defensive line.

Junior linebacker Dustin Morris led that defense with 103 tackles this season, 17 for losses. Junior defensive end had 66 tackles, 18 for lossesincluding six sacks. Hurley had 62 tackles, 20 for losses and six sacks.Niswanger also had six tackles to go along with his 47 tackles, 15 for losses.

Junior Neill Roshto had two interceptions and was second on the team with 67 tackles. Wayland Durr had 63 tackles, 22 for losses.Ouachita Christian is also strong in the kicking game. Junior Keith Andrewsmade six of his 13 field goal attempts, including one from 52 yards, and 43 of his 47 extra points. He was also the team’s punter, averaging 36.8 yardsper kick.

“We’re going to have to step up our game,” Dupont said. “We’re going tohave to be aggressive against their line. Whoever wins the line will win thegame. We’re going to go up there and give them a good game.”The winner Friday will face the winner of Iota and Newman in the quarterfinals next week.

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