Rams prep to cover Buccaneers spread attack

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2010



EDGARD — West St. John attempts to halt a three game slide in its final non-district game on Friday night, but Rams coach Robert Valdez has no illusions that it’ll be easy.

West St. John (1-3) hosts Class 5A West Jefferson this week in a game where Valdez expects to be outmanned — but it’s a contest he believes will prepare his team further for a tough District 8-1A slate that begins next week at Christian Life.

“Here we go again,” said Valdez with a chuckle. “It’s another strong opponent, a team that boasts a lot of athletic ability, a lot of playmakers, and a lot of athleticism on defense. It’s another test in a line of them, but it’s another chance to go and compete for a win. I’m always excited about that.”

West Jefferson (1-3) defeated the Rams 21-6 last season behind three Glenn Coleman touchdown catches.

Coleman is gone now, but the player at the other end of those scores — quarterback Shawn Hoye — is back, and Valdez knows what to expect.

“He’s a field general,” said Valdez. “And he’s got a ton of speed around him. He can beat you with his arm or his legs, so we’ve got our work cut out.”

West Jefferson has won just one of its first four games, but the Buccaneers’ record, like that of the Rams, is misleading. While West St. John has faced three ranked foes so far, West Jefferson has lost in close games to strong teams in Dutchtown (42-35), St. Augustine (59-56) and Mandeville (24-21). Its win came over St. Augustine in the season opener, 59-56, representing the Purple Knights’ lone loss of the season.

Clearly, the Buccaneers represent a stout challenge. And clearly, the Buccaneers can score points. Against Jesuit, Hoye ran the teams spread offense to the tune of completing 34 of 44 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown, while rushing 12 times for 68 yards and a score.

The Rams can’t afford to help West Jefferson in any way. West St. John turned the ball over six times Friday night against Class 2A No. 5 Donaldsonville.

“Six turnovers … you can’t play that way against a program like this,” said Valdez. “We had drives, but we couldn’t sustain them or hold onto the ball. And we’ve got to get it right, and soon.

“That’s six possessions that we get nothing out of. You can’t win like that.”

Jarius Moll led WSJ statistically with 66 yards on four catches. WSJ finished with 161 yards of offense on Friday.