St. James faces tough test in Karr Cougars

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 2010



ST. JAMES — St. James has clearly improved from its 0-5 start, winning four straight games in largely impressive fashion.

But a clearer picture of just how far they’ve come will be put on display Friday night. The Wildcats are set to take on Karr, and the Cougars are a tough draw for anyone.

When asked if he scheduled the 8-1 Cougars in the preseason as a means to put his team to the test right before the playoffs, St. James coach Rick Gaille chuckled, offering a different take.

“It was a matter of playing whoever was willing to play on an open date,” said Gaille, whose team wrapped up district play last week.

“During district season, it’s hard to find anyone available. We found each other … the positive thing is in a game like this, you have to play very well to have a chance. You must improve from the week before. The drawback is, you want to go into the postseason healthy, but this will be a physical game. You hope to come out with everything and everyone intact.’

Karr is ranked fifth in Class 4A and has lost only once, a 28-12 loss to St. Paul’s in its season opener.

Since then, the Cougars have won eight straight including wins over Higgins, Destrehan, Jesuit and O. Perry Walker. Its last three wins have come by a margin of three touchdowns or more.

“It’s a team that stresses your system both in strategy and execution,” said Gaille. “They’re a very complete football team both offensively and defensively. And they bring great team speed and size to go with it. They’re good at every position and extremely well coached. So we’ve got a tall order ahead of us.”

Karr is led by quarterback Tollette George, a converted wide receiver who has taken the reins as a senior from former Karr star Munchie Legaux. Against Warren Easton on Friday, George completed 15 of 19 attempts for 261 yards and two touchdowns. He added 153 yards and three more scores on the ground.

St. James has been explosive as well in recent weeks, but its offense was quieted in regulation on Friday night as the Wildcats clinched the District 8-3A crown with a 34-32 win over Plaquemine in four overtimes.

The teams were tied at 12 at the end of regulation.

Shaquille Narcisse supplied the game-winning points for St. James (4-5, 4-0) in the fourth overtime, though, scoring a touchdown to tie the game at 32, then rushing for the game-winning two-point conversion. It was Narcisse’s third total score of the day. Lester Verret scored twice and Kenneth Armant scored on a 49-yard reception from Narcisse. Armant totaled 97 total yards; Verret rushed for 84.

DESTREHAN LOOKS TO FINISH ON WIN STREAK — Destrehan showed its mettle Friday night, erasing a 20-0 deficit to defeat host East Ascension.

E.A. went ahead 20-0 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter, but the Wildcats defense shut the Spartans out the rest of the way and Destrehan would score 27 unanswered points.

Kevin Smith’s 7-yard touchdown run, Donovan Isom’s 90-yard scoring pass to De’Ante Armstrong, Frank Kaufman’s blocked field goal return and the game-winning score, Smith’s 1-yard plunge, comprised the rally.

Destrehan will now look for its fourth win of the season, and second district win, as it hosts St. Amant on Friday.

St. Amant (4-5, 1-3) defeated East Ascension two weeks ago, 45-17, but has lost three of its last four overall. The Gators offense is based on the option and the Gators have scored 30 or more points six times this season.

Hahnville defeated St. Amant on Friday, 38-13.