Valdez looks for Rams to establish run attack

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011



EDGARD — As West St. John coach Robert Valdez put it, it’s “the dreaded homecoming week” for his Rams.

West St. John went 3-2 in its predistrict schedule this season and now turns its attention to Ascension Christian, which visits Edgard Friday night. Ascension Christian enters the game at 0-5 and was shut out in its first four efforts.

The Rams will go into Friday’s game heavily favored. But Valdez said that he needs to see two things this week from his team above all else: the running game must get back on track after his team struggled to control the line of scrimmage in its loss to O. Perry Walker on Friday, and his players must show the maturity to execute Friday night despite the distractions of homecoming.

“For our team to have success, we have to establish the line of scrimmage and run the football,” he said. “We couldn’t run Friday, which meant we couldn’t set up any play-action. So I want to see us do a better job there.”

As far as homecoming, Valdez said it’s a week that brings on a different set of challenges for any coaching staff.

“Really, this is the week when you almost have to do your best coaching job, just to keep everyone focused,” said Valdez. “You almost play the role of psychologist. There are distractions this week. Good teams can handle those distractions and go out on Friday night and execute their gameplan successfully.”

Ascension Christian fell last week to Christian Life, 42-19. It went 2-3 in a partial schedule a season ago under head coach Brian Kinchen.

For the Rams, last week’s matchup with a talented 4A squad in O. Perry Walker ended with the Chargers upending the Rams, 44-6, at WSJ.

Junior tailback Kylum Favorite led WSJ (3-2) on the ground with 55 yards on 15 carries. Walker held the Rams without a first down in the first half, though, as WSJ struggled to generate offense.

Chargers quarterback Devin Powell completed 13 of 21 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those scores came from more than 50 yards out. Raymond Jackson caught two of those, one from 18 yards and another from 53.

The Rams’ lone score came early in the second half. Trailing 24-0, Favorite set his team up in the redzone with runs of 13 and 21 yards. Austin Howard capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Moll.

It came on a seven-play, 77-yard drive which included five of West St. John’s eight first downs. Howard finished the night 4 of 8 for 27 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

Valdez said that he knew his team would have difficulty matching up with a Chargers team that had advantages in size and depth, but that he felt his team needed to play with more effort going forward.

“I didn’t see us step up to the challenge like we had before,” he said. “(Walker) took control of the line of scrimmage. They were more aggressive than we were. It doesn’t matter what offensive or defensive scheme you run, if you have success on the line, you can have a good game.”

Running back Jeremy Jackson likely won’t play on Friday after aggravating an injury in practice. But otherwise, the Rams should be relatively at full strength after emerging from the Walker game with no major injuries.

And if that Rams’ team plays to its potential, the Walker game likely becomes a distant memory.

“We need to establish a physical presence and run it,” Valdez said. “They’re a zone team, so we want to force them into man to man coverage. Just old school football.”