Rams ousted by Opelousas Catholic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 1, 2005

Fourth quarter push falls just short as turnovers kill opportunity for West St. John


Sports Writer

EDGARD- The post-season run towards the title ended last Friday night for the West St. John when the Rams (8-5) and their number 13 seed suffered an emotional 20-16 loss to the fifth seeded Vikings in the state quarterfinals.

&#8220We made a lot of mistakes tonight and they made the plays when they needed to,” WSJ Coach Laury Dupont said after the game.

Despite productive efforts by junior Daron Bartholomew, who rushed for 80-plus yards, and senior Olajuwon Hall, who dominated the airways with more than 200 yards passing and two touchdowns, the Rams were overwhelmed by costly penalties and turnovers that often kept them out of scoring range late in the game when they needed it most.

WSJ defensive back Josh Johnson gave the Rams an advantage early, with a timely turnover in the first quarter. Johnson, a senior, intercepted a Viking pass that set up a 41-yard touchdown pass from Hall to senior Tiarus Jenkins with 2:47 left in the quarter. The two-point conversion was successful, making the score, 8-0 WSJ. The ensuing Viking drive also ended abruptly as Johnson recovered a Viking fumble, but the Rams were unable to convert the possession into any points.

The Vikings broke onto the scoreboard early on in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Jacob Jarrell, but the two-point conversion failed, bringing the score to 8-6. The Vikings took the lead with another Jarrell 1-yard run, leaving 4:28 remaining in the half. The PAT was good for a 13-8 halftime score.

Opelousas Catholic started their possession second half with great field position, and drove 28 yards to set up a third Jarrell 1-yard TD run with 8:07 remaining in the quarter. The PAT was good and the score went to 20-8.

Hall showed the resilience of the Rams squad, directing the offense to a touchdown with a 66-yard pass to junior Davonne Lumar that got WSJ to within a touchdown after a successful two-point coversion.

The Rams threatened to retake the lead in the fourth quarter after driving 60 yards into Viking territory, but a Hall pass was intercepted in the end zone. The Vikings returned the favor, giving the Rams the ball on a fumble at the 20, but WSJ’s Bartholomew fumbled the ball right back on the Viking 25-yard line with 3:00 remaining to play. Opelousas Catholic rode out the clock with five straight Jarrell runs to outlast West St. John by a 20-16 final score.

The West St. Rams finished the season 8-5 overall and 5-0 in district, which earned them the 9-1A championship. After losing their first four games, the Rams conquered their district by winning eight straight games and advancing to the third round of the state playoffs.

&#8220I’m proud of your season– the way you handled yourself, the way you progressed– I’m very proud of you,” Dupont told his players at the end of the game. &#8220You’re champions, you won the district, and they can’t take that away from you.”