St. James dominates Episcopal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Sports Editor

It’s been a simple, yet effective formula for St. James in the first two weeks of the state playoffs.

Run the ball. Explode in the second quarter. Make big plays in all three phases of the game. And secure the victory. That’s exactly what happened again Friday night, as the Wildcats topped visiting Episcopal 46-21 in a Class 2A regional playoff game on Friday night.

St. James, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, will travel to face No. 22 Loyola Prep this Friday night.

Understandably, St. James Coach Rick Gaille likes what he sees from his team these days.

“We’re getting more and more physical each week. As opponents get tougher, you must keep improving, and this team understands that,” said Gaille. “You’re either getting better, or you’re getting worse. And right now, our offensive line is dominating.”

For the second straight week, that dominant line has paved the way for over 300 rushing yards, this time 341.

Along with five rushing touchdowns came an interception return for a score and a kickoff return for another.

“We’ve had a sharp balance,” said Gaille. “We want to be that kind of team, that can score in all three phases. We put a lot of importance on it.”

That balance was readily apparent on offense, where once again the Wing-T produced multiple scoring threats. Three different Wildcats (8-3) scored the team’s first three touchdowns, putting St. James ahead 20-0 — a 7-yard first quarter score by Jai Steib was followed by touchdowns of 23 and 15 yards by Kenny Zenon and Marcus Dumas in the second quarter.

Thoughts of an Episcopal (7-3) comeback were met with a reality check a short time later. Jontrae Gordon intercepted Episcopal quarterback Trey Maughan, returning it 53 yards to the 2-yard line. Steib punched it in on the next play to make it 27-0, which was the score at the half.

“Even when you’re up three scores, a touchdown by the other team can really put you on alert,” Gaille said. “That put us up four scores, and really into a comfort zone.”

Romell Steib’s 18-yard touchdown gave St. James a 33-0 lead in the third quarter. Then Laron Williams made it a 40-point game when he returned an interception 101-yards for another Wildcats’ touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Romell Steib would later add his second touchdown on a 63-yard kickoff return.

Episcopal put three touchdowns on the board late, but the win was already safely tucked away for St. James.

11 different Wildcats logged a carry in the game, combining to rush 47 times. Kenny Zenon led the way, accumulating 165 yards on only 10 carries. Marcus Dumas completed 3-of-6 passes for 56 yards, and rushed for 31 more.