Rams capture district

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2011



EDGARD — The stars were out in Edgard on Thursday night.

As West St. John was highlighted so many to see in their district championship-deciding clash with St. John-Plaquemine, a game broadcast by Cox Sports Television, the team’s most prolific playmakers stepped up in a 36-20 victory over the rival Eagles.

Kylum Favorite rushed for 259 yards and two touchdowns, Jarius Moll scored four times, Austin Howard threw three touchdowns passes and Ronnie Feist came up with a sack as the Rams scored early and scored often, holding the Eagles at bay throughout.

“(The atmosphere) is just what I envisioned,” said WSJ coach Robert Valdez. “This was a playoff caliber football game.”

West St. John must defeat East Iberville next week to ensure the outright District 9-1A crown (a loss coupled with a St. John win next week would create a tie), but the victory sealed a shared title at minimum.

West St. John led 18-14 after a St. John touchdown just before halftime. But the Rams wasted no time in creating separation.

WSJ received the kickoff and scored on its second play from scrimmage in the second half on a 48-yard pass downfield from Howard to Moll, making it 24-14 with 11:11 left in the third quarter.

Moll would top that, however, providing the most electrifying play of the night after the Rams forced a punt. Moll recovered on a bounce, spun and reversed field, and as he ran up the sideline, he pulled off a spin move that garnered “oooohs” and “ahhhhhhs” from the crowd as he shook free for an 80-yard touchdown. A flag was thrown on the play, appearing to negate it; it was waved off as coach Robert Valdez threw up his hands signaling touchdown and evoking a wild cheer from the crowd, WSJ leading 30-14 with 8:38 left in the quarter.

It was the second strong return of the night for Moll, after an early fumble on a punt that set up the Eagles’ first score in the opening quarter.

“He really beat himself up after that fumble,” said Valdez. “I told him to shake it off, ‘You’ll make a play later on.’ To have that kind of play and that kind of night, bouncing back, it says a lot.”

St. John began with good field position on its ensuing drive, beginning on the Rams’ 46 and driving 54 yards in seven plays, capped by a Davante Williams touchdown run to make it 30-20 with 5:13 left in the third.

After trading punts, WSJ made it a 16-point game on Howard’s third touchdown pass of the night to Moll, a 19-yard pass set up by a 26-yard Favorite run, making it 36-20 in the fourth quarter.

“We told each other at halftime,” said Favorite of he and Moll, “that we were going to stay up by a couple of scores no matter what. That we had to keep making plays.”

St. John had one final hope to draw close, but it was extinguished by an opportunistic Ram ‘D’. St. John marched from its own 24 to the WSJ 12 in 10 plays. But on the 11th, a third and four from the 12, Christian Primeaux got free and closed in on a touchdown. But before crossing the plane, West St. John forced a fumble and Justin Bethancourt recovered in the endzone, returning it to the Rams 18 and all but sealing the win.

West St. John scored its first touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Howard to Moll, making it 6-0 late in the first quarter. St. John answered on Primeaux’s 17-yard scoring run, giving St. John a 7-6 lead.

Favorite grabbed the momentum back for his team in dominating fashion though, capping the Rams’ next drive with a rumbling 62-yard, tackle-busting run to make it 12-7.

“We run that zone play with him, and we teach him to be patient and read his blocks,” said Valdez. “He did a great job. I’m very happy for him and to see him to that.”

He’d add a 7-yard score to make it 18-7, a play set up by a 29-yard completion from Howard to Moll on a stop route and a run after the catch.

With 1:02 before halftime, Williams scored on a 28-yard run to make it 18-14.

But the Rams began the second half as they began the game, and a district championship resulted.

Running backs Primeaux and Williams combined for 307 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

But the Rams were able to stop St. John twice from point-blank scoring range, once on Bethancourt’s fumble recovery and once on a first half interception by Javen Toney in the endzone after a St. John drive down to the WSJ 15.

“One thing we always say is that we bend but don’t break,” said Feist. “We gave up some yards, but came up big in some tough, pressure situations.”

He said that the televised game was a chance to show a wide audience the type of football played at the school.

“We wanted to come up with a good performance, to show what our coaches and players can do,” said Feist.