Rams ready for hungry Bulldogs/St. James preps to host Christophe-led Brusly challenge

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012



EDGARD — West St. John coach Robert Valdez knows his team will face a hungry team on Friday night. He’s grown comfortable with the target that’s squarely on the back of his team: it comes with the territory of being considered among the favorite to reach the Superdome in December.

“It’s gonna be that way the rest of the year,” said Valdez.

Ascension Catholic, though, figures to be among the more focused teams the Rams will face in district competition.

The Bulldogs appear to be a team on the rise under head coach Doug Moreau, who may be in his first season with ACHS but is hardly a novice, with 33 years of coaching experience and a 179-97-1 career record.

Ascension Catholic is off to a strong start this season, boasting a record of 5-1 and is coming off of a 25-7 victory in its District 9-1A opener over St. John-Plaquemine.

The Bulldogs finished 7-4 last season, but struggled against the top competition on its schedule: ACHS fell 61-0 to eventual 1A champ Ouachita Christian, and 47-19 to the Rams, who went on to be state runner-up.

West St. John (2-3, 1-0) dominated in a 58-0 win over Ascension Christian last week, but Valdez knows his team will be in for more of a fight in this game. For Ascension Catholic, a win over the favored Rams would signify the arrival of their program as a factor.

“Doug Moreau’s been around a long time, and he’s been very successful,” said Valdez. “He’s got them playing at an extremely high level.”

In Ascension Catholic’s victory last week, running back Wade Bailey carried the load, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns out of the Bulldogs’ option-based attack.

Valdez noted the Bulldogs productive backfield, but said that the offensive catalyst is quarterback D.J. Latino, who makes the decisions and keeps the Ascension Catholic offense on schedule.

“He makes it all go,” said Valdez. “They’ve got a number of athletes in the backfield with (Bailey and Jacquel Wade) among the guys who can hurt you, and they get them the ball.”

Valdez said that his offensive line must be able to protect Howard against an aggressive, attacking defensive unit.

“They’re going to play their assignments. They’re well-coached up front and they keep everything in front of them. We’ll need to have a good push up front and to make a few guys miss.”

West St. John has searched this season for a few playmakers to step up and compliment quarterback Austin Howard and tailbacks Kylum Favorite and Jeremy Jackson.

Friday night saw a few players assert themselves: senior wide receiver Timothy Nelson, sophomore wide receiver Morell Bartholomew and freshman tailback Lamore Boudoin each reached the endzone; Boudoin got there twice, rushing for 75 yards on just six carries.

“Timothy Nelson and Morell Bartholomew made a pair of beautiful touchdown catches,” said Valdez. “We need that to continue. We need our guys on the outside to step up to clear people out of the box and allow our backs some room to breathe.”

This will be West St. John’s homecoming game, which Valdez said will not only give Ascension Catholic more motivation, but also give his own players a number of distractions to overcome.

“We have to show maturity this week. Not only do we need to handle the distractions of homecoming, but we need to show we can handle expectations,” said Valdez. “People are expecting us to make a run, win district … We played a tough schedule to prepare us for this. But now it’s time to win.”


St. James coach James Bell sees a lot of the things that every coach wishes for in his players: guts, heart, and a willingness to fight through adversity.

But wins have been elusive. The Wildcats fell again on Friday, 28-6 to a strong Port Allen team that reached the Class 3A quarterfinals a year ago.

The Wildcats are now 0-15 in Bell’s tenure.

Friday’s game followed a familiar script: St. James’ defense held the fort down for two-plus quarters of play. But eventually the Wildcats’ inability to sustain offense—Port Allen held SJH to 61 total yards — catches up to them, and the opposition breaks a play on the worn down defense.  

This week, St. James (0-5, 0-1) returns home to host Brusly (5-1, 1-0), a team among the favorites to win the District 7-3A crown.

The Panthers fell two weeks ago to Livonia, 13-12, but rebounded in a huge way with a dominating 43-7 district win on the road over a 4-2 E.D. White team.

Brusly quarterback Jay Christophe captains an explosive Wing-T offense that has topped 43 points four times this season. Christophe passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more against E.D. White.

“They’re extremely well-balanced,” said Bell. “Defensively, they’re going to mix zone and man. The quarterback is dangerous. And they’ve got good size, and I don’t just mean mass. They’re tall, too.”

For St. James, health remains an issue. Jason Favorite started last week at quarterback, but was knocked out of the game — just one of five Wildcats sidelined on the night.

“We’re shuffling guys in and out. We’re already outnumbered, so it makes it tough,” said Bell. “I’d like to see what these guys can do at full strength.”