Rams fall in O.T. to St. John

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009



In a battle between teams expected to contend for state honors in Class 1A, there was a district championship beef to settle in Edgard on Friday night.

Top ranked St. John-Plaquemine erased a 21-point West St. John lead to rally and secure a 28-27 win in overtime, clinching the outright District 8-1A championship over the eighth ranked Rams.

To lose a game you felt you had control of…everyone took it tough. My kids came to play, and we came up short,” said Valdez. “You just pick yourselves up and move on, because it’s win or go home now.”

The Eagles (9-1, 5-0) scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to tie things up after the Rams carried a 21-0 lead into the half.

In overtime, Dray Joseph’s 10-yard touchdown run gave West St. John a 27-21 lead.

“It was an open set, and Dray had the option to run or pass,” said Valdez.

“They had our receivers bracketed, Dray saw an opening and took off.”

The extra point attempt failed, though, giving the Eagles a chance to win in regulation.

Despite an intentional grounding and an illegal procedure call to push St. John back, the Eagles busted the Ram zone with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Michael Martinez to Josh Johnson.

West St. John (6-4, 4-1) was rolling early. Kenneth Dabney put WSJ ahead 7-0 in the first quarter via a 3-yard run.

The lead grew to 15-0 when Jarius Moll hauled in a 7-yard scoring pass from Joseph. A Dabney 2-point conversion run made it 15-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Joseph and Dabney hooked up for the longest play of the game in the second quarter, an 84-yard touchdown pass that gave WSJ a 21-0 lead.

“We came out aggressive, throwing the ball, attacking the flats and the intermediate areas,” said Valdez. “We knew they wouldn’t give us the deep ball at first. But sure enough, Kenneth got loose.”

But all the good that West St. John was experiencing in the first half quickly turned sour in the second, in particular the third quarter. WSJ lost two second half fumbles, saw one of its punts blocked, and gave up the game tying score before the beginning of the fourth quarter.

“It was a terrible third quarter. Miscues, penalties…anything that could go wrong, did. You know a good team will make their run, and St. John did.”

St. John scored on an 8-yard run by Josh Johnson, a 15-yard pass from Martinez to Jordan Brown, and a 26-yard Casey Toussant run.

West St. John outgained St. John 349-263, but lost the turnover battle (minus-1) and was hurt by nine penalties for 75 yards.

Meanwhile, the offense could never get on track in the second half.

“We had chances to run the football, but high snaps, penalties, substitution problems…but St. John picked their game up. That’s a championship caliber team,” said Valdez.

“I guess we felt like we had it in the bag. We all know we need to do a better job, from the top on down, of putting a complete game together.”