Rams late surge guides them to 2-0

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

West St. John has had to deal with impact injuries right off the bat in 2011. But the Rams are dealing. Dealing well, in fact.

At full strength or not, the Rams are 2-0 after their 21-6 win at home over visiting South Plaquemines Friday night, in a game that was close throughout until WSJ slammed the door with a defensive touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

West St. John led 7-6 entering the fourth quarter. After the Hurricanes stopped the Rams on a third down run, Steven Brignac’s 55-yard punt set up his own key defensive play; after the Hurricanes took the ball on the ensuing drive, he’d recover a fumble and return it to the South Plaquemines 19-yard line.

On the Rams’ first play after the turnover, they went for the end zone and found it, as Austin Terry shook a defender and found himself wide open to haul in a Austin Howard touchdown pass, making it 14-6. The extra point attempt was no good.

WSJ forced a three and out (though Justin Bethancourt’s interception was negated by penalty) and went to work from its own 30, handing the ball off to a hard-running Kylum Favorite and driving into SPHS territory.

“I talked to my line. I just told them we needed a little surge,” said Favorite. “And we got that. I commend them for it. I told them I wouldn’t let them down, and I ran hard.”

On fourth down, Brignac would punt again. This time the Rams’ Trey Nathan downed the kick at the 2.

The Hurricanes narrowly avoided a safety twice, but the Rams finally broke through when a bad snap led to a fumble recovery and touchdown by Micah Claiborne, who fell on the ball in the end zone.

Favorite’s 3-yard touchdown run put WSJ ahead 7-0 with 10:32 left in the second quarter. South Plaquemines answered late in the first half on quarterback Lorne Barthelemy’s short touchdown run.

“South Plaquemines really came at us in the second quarter,” said WSJ coach Robert Valdez. “We challenged our kids to face up to that and respond. They did that. Offensively, we were able to get our run game going. We made a few adjustments as well as the game went on.”

Linebackers Ronnie Feist and Dontre Turner each missed their second game of the season, while tailback Jeremy Jackson was still limited. Valdez noted the Rams suffered a rash of potentially significant injuries on Friday.