Rams take aim at CLA

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2010



EDGARD — West St. John rarely deviates from the script.

Harden selves against tough pre-district schedule. Go on a run through district play. And be recognized as a major threat to play into mid-December once playoff time rolls around.

It’s the Ram formula, tried and true. District play is here, and Christian Life is first on the agenda.

“We’re getting ready to crank it up and make our run,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “We’ve played some big people. But our kids believe in what they can do, that if they can execute, we can take this thing far.”

Including its jamboree game, West St. John has played four teams that were ranked at the time of play, and two Class 5A schools. All five opponents have been in a higher classification.

But now, Valdez said, the sides are a bit more even.

“The numbers on each sideline are more mirrored,” said Valdez. “You’re playing against other teams that play guys two ways like we do. Psychologically, it’s a lift to the kids. The sides are even. But you can’t take that for granted. You have to go out and execute.”

West St. John found a new playmaker to feature in Friday’s 38-20 loss to West Jefferson. Jeremy Jackson had a breakout performance for the Rams (1-4) in his first career start at tailback. Jackson, an eighth grader, rushed for 123 yards on 21 carries and added an 84-yard kickoff return for a score.

“It was his baptism by fire,” said Valdez. “We made the decision to go with Jeremy tonight and it worked out well. We moved it effectively against a very athletic defensive unit.”

Jarius Moll hauled in four receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns, each coming off of passes from quarterback Mark Wright.

Valdez said that his team showed heart after falling behind early.

“We had some key guys out but the kids gave everything,” Valdez said. “We had some miscues that cost us.”

Two years after a trip to the Superdome and a runner-up finish, Christian Life has struggled against a similarly tough schedule. CLA has lost to teams ranked first, second, and fourth in their classifications.

The Rams defeated the Crusaders in lopsided fashion last season, 60-6.