St. James halts Loyola run, advances 41-0

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Sports Editor

After knocking off higher seeded opponents in each of the first two rounds of the Class 2A state playoffs, No. 22 seeded Loyola was beginning to gain a reputation of something of a giant killer.

But the Flyers didn’t possess a big enough slingshot to topple St. James.

On a wet, muddy field, the Wildcats dominated Loyola on a 41-0 in a state quarterfinal game in Shreveport.

St. James (9-3), the No. 3 seed in Class 2A, will host No. 2 seed Evangel this Friday night. Evangel defeated Many in the quarterfinals, 51-0.

For the third straight week, St. James rushed for over 300 yards, this time pounding the Flyers for 333 yards. Conversely, Loyola (8-5) rushed for negative 26 yards.

St. James Coach Rick Gaille said his team was prepared for the elements.

“We were ready for a game of trench warfare,” Gaille said. “The players took it to heart. I think our attack was one that they hadn’t faced, a physical, ground oriented plan. They’ve seen a few option teams, but not the type of scheme we have. They’re a team that likes to spread it out. So I think the conditions hurt them.”

It didn’t take long for St. James to establish control. The wildcats led 13-0 after a quarter, and 20-0 at halftime.

For a Loyola team coming off of two straight upsets, it was a true momentum killer.

“Psychologically, it was very important to get off to a strong start,” Gaille said. “To put the thought in their minds early on that they’re in for a long night…it was imperative to set the tone from the very beginning. If you let them build momentum, it can be hard to reverse.”

Jaleel Steib and Kenny Zenon each had tremendous nights. Steib rushed for 171 yards on 24 carries, while Zenon added 130 yards on 15 attempts. Each scored two touchdowns.

Steib put St. James on the board first when he broke loose for a 36-yard touchdown run within the game’s first four minutes, putting SJH ahead 6-0.

Marcus Dumas extended that lead to 13-0 when he scored at the tail end of the first on a 1-yard run.

Early in the second quarter, Steib scored his second touchdown of the night to push the lead to 20-0.

Zenon did his best work in the third quarter, rushing for touchdowns of 13 and 31 yards to all but bury the Flyers’ chances.

Loyola gained only 42 total yards. With the running threat eliminated, St. James pass rushers were free to disrupt the Flyer passing game — John Shepard, Hilton Narcisse,

Ken Charles and Lionel Dorsey all emerged from the game with sacks.

“Our defense had the same attitude as our offense, and it was just as physical,” Gaille said.