Riverside converts off St. James mistakes, wins 48-14

Published 2:40 am Saturday, September 28, 2013


LAPLACE — It was the worst start imaginable for St. James Friday night, and Riverside — and cornerback Xavier Ray — took full advantage.

The Wildcats turned the ball over on their first two snaps of the night, both times leading to Riverside touchdowns en route to a 48-14 Rebels victory at home in the District 8-2A opener for both teams.

Ray recovered a fumble after the opening snap of the game at the St. James 30, leading to a 1-yard Deuce Wallace touchdown pass to Joe Anderson. On St. James’ next play from scrimmage, Ray broke on a Lowell Narcisse pass and coasted down the sideline for 38 yards, a pick-six that made it 14-0 with 8:57 left in the first quarter.

“It was a three-step (drop). Every day in practice, we drill it. After the quarterback takes his hand off the ball, you break. I took it to the house from there.”

The Rebels (3-1, 1-0)) never looked back. RA led 38-6 at halftime.

“You can’t spot a team 14 points. Not the type of team with the kind of high-powered offense that Riverside has, for sure,” said St. James coach Dwain Jenkins. “We’ve got to stop reverting back to old habits. If something bad happens, you don’t sit on the sidelines feeling sorry for yourself. You adjust and move on.”

Narcisse left the game in the second quarter and was replaced by backup Qui han tai Adams. Jenkins said that Narcisse entered the game with a back injury and a hit caused it to flare up.

Riverside coach Bill Stubbs was pleased to move to 1-0 in district play, but was displeased with what he felt was some sloppy and disinterested play in the second half, particularly by the Rebels’ reserve unit. Riverside turned the ball over three times in the second half.

“We accomplished what we wanted to tonight, which was to get the first one down,” said Stubbs. “But we’ve got to play for all four quarters. You can’t just do what you need to do some of the time or when you feel like it.”

After Ray’s pick six, Riverside’s defense forced a three-and-out. The Rebels marched 63 yards to the SJH 8 to set up an 18-yard Tyler Gauthier field goal, making it 17-0.

St. James (0-4, 0-1) responded this time when Narcisse hit D’Kwan Sandolph over the middle and the receiver did the rest, making tacklers miss on a 71-yard scoring play.

“That’s really the kind of thing we expected of him when we moved him there,” said Jenkins of Sandolph, who has scored four times this season after moving from quarterback to receiver. “He’s the kind of weapon you want to pair with a young quarterback to help him grow up.”

The Rebels refused to allow St. James to build any momentum. Riverside marched 71 yards on its next drive, a 21-yard pass from Wallace to Von Julien helping to set up a 10-yard Wallace to Herb McGee hookup that made it 24-6.

Wallace rushed for a 14-yard touchdown to make it a 31-6 Rebels lead. A Freddy Means blocked punt at the St. James 29 set up a DeAndre Wilson touchdown run that made it 38-6 at half.

Wallace found Darrion Cook for a second-half score while Gauthier added a field goal to round out the Rebel scoring.

St. James added a touchdown on a bizarre play that saw the Wildcats shank a punt; the ball came down behind the line of scrimmage and thus was ruled live, and Rashaan Dennis recovered to score on an 80-yard return.

“That was one of the good ones,” said Jenkins. “We’ve shown we can make those kinds of heads-up plays, but there weren’t enough of them tonight.”