Comets provide tough test for Rams

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It’s from one interparish rivalry to the next for West St. John, as the Rams are set to host St. Charles Catholic on Friday night.

So far this season, Robert Valdez’s quest for his first head coaching victory at West St. John has mirrored Laury Dupont’s early season search for his 200th a season ago – it’s been bumpy in the early goings.

The Rams defense has been there, allowing only two touchdowns over two games. The offense is still adjusting to a new scheme, which is compounded by a series of injuries across the offensive line – Dupont’s squad had similar injury issues early in the 2007 season.

That isn’t good news when preparing to face a Comets defense that’s allowed only 13 points over the past two weeks.

Just as importantly, it has found its passing game, as Marc Picciola established himself with an 11-of-13, four touchdown passing day.

Valdez says he expects to have a healthier offensive line this week. And if he does, that’ll go a long way for the WSJ offense.

The Rams should look better this week, but the Comets seem to be rounding into form at just the right time.

The Pick: St. Charles 20, West St. John 6.

Riverside (2-1) at St. John-Plaquemine (2-1) – St. John-Plaquemine reached the Class 2A quarterfinals last season, and has been impressive in two games since losing its opener to  Brusly – a team headed by former Eagle head coach Erik Willis.

Riverside is another team adjusting to a new head coach of course, albeit a familiar face in  Tim Taffi. Riverside’s defense will certainly answer the bell – it kept the Rebels in the game with St. Thomas Aquinas, and helped outright win games against Hanson and West St. John (the Rebels did not allow a point in those games).

It’s offense is still adjusting though. Quarterback Darnell Rachal will be starting the fourth game of his career, and has showed a great deal of promise. But it may take a few more weeks for the Rebels to gel on that side of it.

The Pick: St. John 17, Riverside 13.

East St. John (0-2) @ Carencro (0-3) – Don’t let the record fool you – though it’s probably of little solace to ESJ Coach Larry Dauterive and his players, East St. John may be the best 0-2 team you’ll ever see, after near misses against 5A No 1 Acadiana and 4A No. 1 Bastrop.

Carencro’s also searching for its first win, but this isn’t the right team to get it against. ESJ pounded Carencro 29-8 a year ago, and the Wildcats are better this season. For all the yards he’s piled up against Acadiana and Bastrop, Singleton hasn’t yet crossed the goalline. Expect that to change, and not just once.

The Pick – East St. John 38, Carencro 13.

John Ehret (3-0) at Destrehan (3-0) – This may well be the game of the week in Louisiana – Ehret’s ranked No. 4 in Class 5A, Destrehan No. 3. Each has blown out each of its first three opponents. Destrehan was the undefeated Class 5A champion in 2007, Ehret a semifinalist.

Destrehan’s offensive and defensive lines can match up with anybody in the state, and Wynrick Smothers has exceeded all expectations early with his tremendous play.

Of course, the Patriots boast loads of talent. Quarterback Rico Jones, running back DeAnte Triplett and linebacker Lamin Barrow are three high end Division I prospects. Like Destrehan, the Patriots are loaded on each side of the football. Jones can put pressure on a defense with his arm and with his legs, a scary prospect for any defensive coordinator.

Destrehan should play a much cleaner game this week after turning it over four times against Higgins. And a win would be this team’s 19th straight. But Ehret’s  fast, athletic defense may lead to the first real growing pains we’ve seen from Smothers.

The Pick: Ehret – 31, Destrehan – 28

John McDonough (2-1) at Hahnville (2-1) – I suppose the lesson here is to never underestimate “Sweet” Lou Valdin – after a opening weekend loss to South Plaquemines, Valdin’s young team has snatched decisive wins over ranked opponents in Helen Cox and O. Perry Walker. This game should be no different for the Tigers.

The Pick: Hahnville 41, John McDonough 6.

St. James (2-1) at Higgins (2-1) – This one kicks off tomorrow night. Higgins could present some problems for St. James with their size, as Destrehan did earlier this year. But the Hurricanes are somewhat one dimensional, and it’s hard to outscore a Rick Gaille offense unless you can put the ball in the air and keep the defense guessing.

Running back Shane Grows stepped up in a big way for St. James last week – the Wildcats may no longer have Luther Ambrose, but the wealth of offensive threats are still there.

The Pick: St. James 28, Higgins 20.

Broadmoor (1-2) at Lutcher (2-1) – Lutcher’s offense seems to have bounced back nicely after a 3-0 loss to Thibodaux two weeks ago. Broadmoor shouldn’t halt that progress. The Bulldogs should have this one in hand early, a tune up before their huge district clash in LaPlace with St. Charles next week.

The Pick: Lutcher 43, Broadmoor 7.