Rams rally past White Castle, 29-23

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009



West St. John trailed in the fourth quarter on Friday night, but rallied to remain undefeated in District 8-1A with a 29-23 victory over host White Castle.

“Our players did a good job withstanding their surge,” said WSJ coach Robert Valdez. “Especially in the second half, when we had to slow their momentum…we ran it well and our defense stiffened up late.”

Xavier Pierre’s 5-yard touchdown run gave the Rams (5-3, 3-0) a 27-23 lead in the fourth quarter, and a safety pushed the lead to six.

White Castle took a 23-21 lead in the fourth quarter on Ron Martin’s 80-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Taylor.

“We misjudged a Hail Mary there,” said Valdez. “There were a few plays where we had guys in position, but just didn’t come away with the play.”

The Ram ground game was extremely effective. West St. John rushed for 216 of its 344 total yards. Kenneth Dabney led the way, rushing for 116 yards and two scores on 26 carries. Dabney added four catches for 87 yards. Xavier Pierre added a powerful compliment to Dabney’s speed and explosiveness, rushing for two scores of his own.

“We’ve got some kids back on the offensive line from injury,” said Valdez. “When Kenneth gets a seam, he makes something happen. Xavier’s our power guy. We always like to throw it and set up our athletes in space, but in games like this, sometimes you need to be able to play it closer to the vest. We need to know we have our running game.”

Dabney got the Rams going in the second quarter, putting WSJ ahead 7-0 on a 5-yard scoring run.

His 3-yarder later in the quarter pushed the lead to two scores, 14-0.

“We drove it well the whole first half,” said Valdez. “We missed some opportunities to punch it in, sputtered in the redzone a little. And we’ve addressed that.”

White Castle (3-4, 1-2) answered just before halftime though. Ron Martin connected with Demaries Zachary for a 15-yard score just before halftime, giving the Bulldogs a lift going into the lockerroom.

That play was set up by a reception on a deflected pass, one almost intercepted by West St. John.

“It gave them life,” said Valdez.

Tyree Bracken gave White Castle its first lead with a 60-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that made it 15-14.

For responded with a 1-yard scoring plunge by Pierre to make it 21-15.

The Rams’ Dray Joseph completed seven-of-13 passes for 172 yards and no interceptions.