Rams not looking to share district crown

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011



EDGARD — West St. John entered this week coming off of its biggest win of the season, a televised 36-20 victory over St. John-Plaquemine that sealed up a share of the District 9-1A crown.

But the Rams are hardly satisfied with a share of the title. A loss Friday night would leave the door open for St. John to pull back into a tie and therefore a share of the championship. As such, the Rams focus, said coach Robert Valdez, is all upon East Iberville, WSJ’s next opponent.

“We had a very intense day of practice today,” said Valdez Monday. “They have to win to get in, and we know that. We’re going to get them at their best, no doubt. And on our side, we have to guard against a let down. That begins in practice, and I was happy with what I saw today from our guys.”

East Iberville is just on the outskirts of a playoff berth, at No. 33 in the Class 1A power rankings. A win over the Rams, sitting at No. 5 in the power rankings and No. 7 in the state poll, would surely result in a trip to the postseason.

The Tigers began the season 5-0, but have fallen three times in four district contests: it’s lone win came against Ascension Christian, 34-13. In its other three games, the Tigers have struggled mightily, being outscored by White Castle, St. John and Ascension Catholic by a combined score of 147-14.

That said, the team has had some explosive efforts this season, scoring 34 points or more four times, three of those performances at least reaching the 40-point mark. The Tigers run the Wing-T option offensively, much as St. John-Plaquemine also runs. Senior Nick Brooks has been the team’s go-to runner, one of the state’s leading touchdown scorers with 28 on the season. He’s also scored eight times on two-point conversions.

One of the few qualms West St. John coach Robert Valdez might have about last Thursday’s victory would perhaps be with the run defense, as St. John rushers Christian Primeaux and Davante Williams combined to rush for 307 yards and three touchdowns.

“They saw what we gave up to St. John,” said Valdez. “They’ll be running at us.”

Defensively, Valdez said that he expects East Iberville to bring pressure and lots of it based on what he’s seen.

“They blitz from all angles,” he said. “They’re very physical and they make plays. We’ll need to capitalize when the opportunity presents itself, and get the ball to our playmakers.”

WSJ did that last week and then some. Quarterback Austin Howard connected with Jarius Moll for three touchdowns — Moll had four on the night. Kylum Favorite continued his breakout season, rushing for 259 yards and two touchdowns.

Valdez said that while the perception is that West St. John is strictly a spread offense, the reality doesn’t follow that thought.

“We try to be pretty multiple in what we do. And we want to run the football,” said Valdez. “The thing about running the ball is that it has a demoralizing effect on the other team.”

Enough big plays on Friday could seal a top five seed. And it will seal an outright district crown and an undefeated run through district play.

“I told my players today, we don’t want to put ourselves in a position to have to share it,” he said. “We have a lot to play for. They have a lot to play for. We need to go out, continue to improve, and perfect the things we’re doing well if we want to continue to reach the goals we’ve set.”