Grows scores four times, leads SJH to win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Sports Editor

For a team that lost some frontline playmakers and a lot of experience throughout its lineup, St. James hardly looks like a team embarking on a rebuilding season.

The Wildcats notched their second straight win over a ranked opponent, toppling Patterson 46-28 on Friday night at St. James.

Patterson entered the game No. 7 in Class 3A. St. James is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A.

Shane Grows rushed 13 times for 159 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats offense, which helped St. James to a 27-7 halftime lead.

St. James Coach Rick Gaille said that his team’s success doesn’t exactly come in spite of all the team’s new faces.

“We’ve got some experience that leads to stability,” says Gaille. “We’ve also got some inexperience, but with that comes exuberance. When they blend, it leads to some really high coachability.”

Since starting the season with a 35-7 loss to Destrehan, St. James (2-1) has averaged 47 points over its last two games.

St. James jumped out to an early lead, but it didn’t look like the Wildcats would get off to a hot start. St. James fumbled a punt to Patterson in the Wildcats’ own territory. After a stop, St. James was backed up at its own 15.

Enter Shane Grows – after a Wildcats’ first down, the senior running back broke loose for a 75-yard score on a run up the middle, making it 7-0.

As the Wing-T tends to often do, the play call threw the defense off.

“They didn’t know he had the ball,” said Gaille. “He went right up the middle. Half the defense went one way, half the defense went the other way.

“The whole emotional turnaround from being backed up in our own territory to a sudden score, it was  more than just a touchdown. It was a game-changing moment.”

That momentum built on itself. Grows added touchdowns of 4 and 5-yards in the second quarter. Marcus Dumas capped the first half scoring with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Lewis. At that point, Patterson was in trouble.

In some ways, the team’s offensive production has even surprised its head coach, who has presided over his share of exceptional offenses.

“We’re making a lot more big plays than I thought we would at this point,” said Gaille. “Shane made an explosive play. Alonzo Lewis made an explosive play. So did Chaz Roussel.”

Grows wasn’t finished, as he added a 13-yard run four his fourth of the game. Dumas and Jaleel Steib added touchdown runs to round out the scoring.

The offensive performance was a breakthough of sorts, Gaille says, as Patterson brings a different defensive look than the Wildcats had seen early on.

“They play almost 100-percent man, press coverage. It’s a different style for us to face,” he said. “It’s interesting to see your players develop and react against these different looks, against motion, against different routes.

“And to see them recognize the right way to do things, things we work on in practice…it’s the type of thing that makes coaches feel worthwhile.”

Rojae Dumas had seven solo tackles to lead the St. James defense. Romell Steib added six.