No. 8 ESJ to match running game with No. 5 Dutchtown this weekend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008

East St. John has spent the last two weeks taking out its frustrations after a 0-2 start on Carencro and St. Amant.

But while this Friday doesn’t match the Wildcats up with another No. 1 ranked team in the state, as Acadiana and Bastrop were (and are) in handing ESJ its two losses, it will in fact begin what Coach Larry Dauterive calls the “murderer’s row” within District 5-5A.

East St. John travels to Dutchtown Friday night. A week later, the Wildcats will host Destrehan. A week after that, it visits Hahnville.

Nothing will come easy against Dutchtown, which moved to 5-0 this past week with a 30-0 win over East Ascension. Dutchtown is ranked No. 5 in Class 5A. East St. John is ranked eighth.

“It’s a definite challenge for us,” says Dauterive. “They have two great running backs who are very tough to stop. But they’ll need to bring their A-game, because we’re coming with ours.”

The teams did face off at Joe Keller Field last year. The Griffins marched out to a 14-0 lead before East St. John rallied to take a 17-14 victory.

In that game, Alex Singleton rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The East St. John defense, meanwhile, played one of its finest games of the season, holding the Griffins standout running tandem of Kelvin York and Eddie Lacey to 16 yards in the second half.

That tandem returns this year, after combining for 2,400 yards and 44 touchdowns a year ago (paced by Lacy’s 1600 and 32).

East St. John is much improved from a season ago – a season, I might add, in which the Wildcats were pretty darn good.

As good as Dutchtown is, ESJ was within an eyelash of ending Bastrop’s massive winning streak, and also of a win over Acadiana. It’s a better team now.

The result will be the same.

The Pick: East St. John 27, Dutchtown 13.

Pope John Paul II (4-1) at St. Charles (4-1) – I don’t know that I’ll see a better game this year than the Lutcher/St. Charles clash on Friday night. Congrats to SCC for the huge win, which vaulted them to No. 9 in the latest Class 3A poll.

Before the season, SCC Coach Frank Monica said that one of the goals he and his staff had set out for was to see his defense play at the level it did a few years ago, when SCC went to two straight Class 2A championship games (falling only to eventual champion John Curtis each time). 

I didn’t cover the team at that point. But the way St. Charles was hitting in that game, causing turnovers, and flying around the field…it’s not hard for me to imagine that’s what he was talking about. This is a very good team, and now everyone knows it.

Pope John Paul II lost 26-0 to a now-undefeated Pearl River team in the first week of the season. Since then, it’s won four straight – but the four teams PJP has beaten are a combined 2-18.

After a huge rivalry win, sometimes teams have let downs. It won’t happen to the Comets.

The Pick: St. Charles 34, Pope John Paul II 14.

Riverside (3-2) at John Curtis (5-1) – The Rebels travel to face the team to beat in Class 2A (again).

As Riverside Coach Tim Taffi noted, the one good thing about playing Curtis is that things rarely change – the Patriots run the same plays they did 30 years ago. Of course, that’s probably the only good thing – and as Taffi also noted, those they keep running those plays because they’re just that effective at it.

The Pick: Curtis 33, Riverside 7.

Jeanerette (1-5) at West St. John (1-3) – Choo choo! That’s the sound of the West St. John train leaving the station. Just as a win over White Castle vaulted the Rams from a 0-5 start to a big win streak, the same could well happen here. The Rams’ defense has been there all season. The only question was if the offense would bounce back in time in Robert Valdez’s new system. Its 32-7 win over White Castle indicates it has.

The Pick: West St. John 22, Jeanerette 13.

St. James (3-2) at Newman (5-0) — This is a big one within the District 10-2A standings. It’s a fantastic contrast of styles between the Greenies’ passing attack and the running game of St. James. Wes Luquette is a dangerous passer, but the Greenies haven’t played anyone as good as St. James yet. Expect a Wildcats win.

The Pick: St. James 38, Newman 28.

St. Amant (1-5) at Destrehan (5-0) – Destrehan is playing far too well to lose here. St. Amant’s been blown out three times already this season. This will make four, as DHS tunes up for East St. John.

The Pick: Destrehan 48, St. Amant 18.

Hahnville (3-2) at East Ascension (1-5) – Lou Valdin didn’t think his team brought its best game to face Destrehan on Friday. That’s probably bad news for EA. Hahnville’s lost two games, both to premier teams in the state – this is still a dangerous team.

The Pick: Hahnville 35, East Ascension 6.

Brusly (4-1) at Lutcher (3-2) – Brusly looks to be an improved team this season, and Lutcher will test how much better the Panthers are. I don’t see Lutcher returning home and laying an egg, not after a rivalry loss. This won’t be a 0-2 team in District 9-3A.

The Pick: Lutcher 40, Brusly 21.