West St. John ‘attempting to slay giant’ as Holy Cross looms

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013


LAPLACE — West St. John has shown this season that it’s more than willing to delve deep into the playbook, especially when the Rams enter a game as underdogs.
So then what can we expect from the Class 1A Rams this week as they prepare to hit the road to face an undefeated Class 5A Holy Cross squad?
“I’m gonna see if I can find a rock and a slingshot,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “We’re going out to slay a giant.”
One can probably safely assume Valdez won’t be shy about making aggressive playcalls against a Tigers (3-0) team that has blown out two straight opponents, most recently a 44-2 victory over Chalmette.
The Rams (2-1) fell for the first time last week, dropping a 35-32 thriller at Riverside. In that game, WSJ called for two onside kicks, two fake punts (a third attempt was thrown away by a Rebels timeout) and a two-point try on every Rams’ score.
“It’s known now that at West St. John, we’ll call anything, anytime, anyplace if it puts our kids in a better position to win,” said Valdez.
Despite the loss, the Rams are riding some strong momentum with a pair of blowout victories and two more strong performances in losing efforts against favored foes in Riverside and a jamboree tilt with East St. John.
But the concern in Edgard at week’s beginning was placed squarely on the left shoulder of senior tailback Jeremy Jackson, who has rushed for 504 yards on 54 carries while scoring seven total touchdowns this season. Jackson sustained an injury to that shoulder early in the third quarter Friday night and was scheduled to receive an MRI on Tuesday.
“Right now, ‘Action Jackson’s’ status is up in the air,” said Valdez. “He was a lot better (Monday) than right after the game. He iced it in school today. We still want to check it out and make sure there isn’t a muscle injury or tissue tear.’
“He was on pace to have a tremendous game Friday night and he’s been having such a stellar season. We’re looking out for his health. Regardless, he’s probably pretty doubtful for this week.”
If Jackson’s “doubtful” designation holds true, Bradley Borne and Lamore Boudoin would get the call again, just as they did in the second half Friday.
Borne immediately ripped off two strong runs after Jackson’s injury, including a 41-yard touchdown run.
“I was so happy to see him have that kind of success,” said Valdez. “I’ve been hard on him because I expect a lot. He’s such a physical kid. He’s waited his turn and this is his shot.’
“He got that turbo-boost Friday night that I’m not sure I’ve seen before from him. I’m glad he found it. When guys step up when their number is called, that’s always great to see.”
Holy Cross quarterback James Tabary completed 12 of 27 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s Tigers’ win over Chalmette. Tailback Todd Spriggins scored three times and gained 89 yards on 15 carries.
“Their gameplan is similar to what we just saw with Riverside,” said Valdez.
“They like to go spread. Their quarterback, it will almost be like playing another version of Deuce. (Wallace, Riverside quarterback). He’s tremendous.”
Offensively, the Rams haven’t had a scoring effort of less than the 32 points they posted Friday. But Holy Cross hasn’t allowed 20 or more points all season and brings a much bigger and deeper team to the table.
So how do the Rams and their no-huddle offense presume to move the ball against the Tigers?
Valdez answered the question with one of his own.
“Not trying to sound cocky, but at the same time they’ve got to ask themselves how they’re gonna stop us?” said Valdez.