Rams capture 7-on-7 crown at Southeastern

Published 11:45 pm Friday, June 14, 2013



LAPLACE – West St. John had a dominating summer of 7-on-7 tournament play in 2012. They’ve started 2013 the same way.

The Rams captured the Southeastern 7-on-7 tournament championship last weekend, losing just two games en route to a championship game victory over Covington.

Austin Howard threw three touchdown passes in the championship game,  Jeremy Jackson catching two of them, as the Rams captured a 21-14 victory in the final game.

It’s the fourth tournament championship the Rams have captured over the past two summers. The Southeastern tourney was West St. John’s first competition of the summer. Coach Robert Valdez said the team will compete each weekend over the next month.

“We love to compete and represent our school community,” said Valdez. “We’ve found it to be really beneficial to us over the last two seasons … We go out and run our offense. We don’t run a gimmick offense for 7-on-7. We run the same plays we’ll run during the season, and our kids have been buying in. So when they go out there, they’re doing things they’re already accustomed to doing.”

The Rams went 8-2 overall at the tournament.

Valdez said that Howard did a good job not only at quarterback, but also on defense, serving double-duty at safety.

“He’s a veteran quarterback, so he’s seen a lot. That serves him well at safety,” said Valdez of his senior passer to be.

Jackson has been a constant playmaker for the team and was again last Saturday. Valdez also noted strong performances by Keith Miller, Bradley Borne, Jemoine Green and Jamal Walters.

The latter two names are new ones on the Rams radar, and Valdez said his offense may have found a weapon or two.

“(Green) really stepped up for us, offensively,” he said. “And (Walters), a young freshman, went out there and made some plays for us. That’s exciting.”

The Rams had to go through a pair of Northshore representatives in the tournament’s late stages. It bested St. Paul’s in the tournament semifinal, then lost to Covington for its first loss in the double-elimination final bracket. That set up the final winner-take-all game between WSJ and Covington.

The Rams also defeated Amite, Ponchatoula and Warren Easton at Southeastern.

“We were really the only other small school there. Amite, too, and they’re 3A,” said Valdez. “I think it bodes well for us. Facing those teams does nothing but makes us better.”