Rams finish third at 7-on-7 tourney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 8, 2011



NEW ORLEANS — West St. John put forth a good showing at last week’s 7-on-7 Red Bull Gamebreakers football tournament at Tad Gormley Stadium, finishing third out of the 16 teams that competed.

West St. John won its first three games, defeating Glen Oaks, John McDonogh and Destrehan before falling by a point to O. Perry Walker. Evangel eliminated the Rams by handing them their second loss of the tourney.

Still, WSJ coach Robert Valdez was extremely encouraged by the way his team performed.

“I was very excited to see my team go out and execute the way that they did,” he said. “Being 7-on-7, it’s a drill. But there was a lot of intensity and emotion out there. And some of our kids went out and made some spectacular plays.”

Valdez said that his sophomore quarterback, Austin Howard, has made some major strides since last season, when he split time with then-senior Mark Wright.

“He had only one interception, and it came off of a deflected pass,” said Valdez. “I think he’s starting to develop. I see improvement in the timing he has with our receivers, and he’s starting to see the defense really well. He’s showing us some very good things.”

Defensively, Valdez noted players like Justin Bethancourt and Lawrence Williams as difference makers, noting a number of pass deflections that helped key stops.

He also noted the emergence of some newcomers, such as Austin Terry — Terry is making his way into football after playing basketball a year ago and, Valdez said, made a few “big catches”.

“We had a tremendous effort from a lot of our kids,” said Valdez.

“We don’t have pads on, and it isn’t September, but you always like to have success.”