Jackson returns as Rams win at Ellender, 36-20

Published 4:05 am Saturday, October 5, 2013



LAPLACE — Once upon a time, the book on West St. John was that the Rams tended to heat up as the temperature cooled.

But these days, the Rams are warming up a lot sooner.

West St. John wrapped up its predistrict schedule with an impressive  road win over Class 4A Ellender, 36-20,  one that saw the Rams’ defense step up and limit and Ellender offense that had topped 40 points in three of its first four games this season.

Jeremy Jackson was hungry to get back on the field after a one game absence due to a sprained shoulder, and it showed. He topped 100 yards in both the rushing and receiving columns, rushing for 154 yards and a score on 21 carries and hauling in three receptions for 101 yards and another touchdown.

Bradley Borne rushed nine times for 68 yards and a touchdown for West St. John. Austin Howard completed eight of 11 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Howard rushed for 47 yards and two scores  on four carries.

West St. John (3-2)  led 23-8 at halftime, taking some momentum into the half after a 70-yard connection between Howard and Jackson.

“It’s a little play we put in for Jeremy. We lined up in a bunch set and threw him a bubble screen. We noticed Ellender (3-2) likes to play man to man a lot, and it’s hard for them to cover him when he’s lined up behind two guys. It’s kind of like what the Saints do with Darren Sproles.’

“He got around the corner, their defender slipped and he was gone. It was huge for us going into the half.”

Valdez said that Jackson “was a little ginger at first” but settled in nicely.

“He did his thing. He’s probably only about 80 to 85 percent right now, but Jeremy’s 85 is pretty good compared to most,” said Valdez. “Bradley did well, too, We knew if we could run the ball, we’d have a chance to win this game.”

Howard put the Rams on the board early with a 4-yard touchdown run on a zone read play, taking advantage of some overpursuit by the Patriots.

“They were selling out so much on Jeremy, and that gave Austin a opening,” said Valdez.

A Borne 18-yard run gave West St. John a 15-0 lead (Brandon Matthews hauled in a two-point conversion reception after the first score).

Ellender cut the Rams lead to 23-14 early in the second half, and later to 29-20. But Howard’s second touchdown run of the night came from 4-yards away and all but put the Patriots away in the second half.

Patriots quarterback Dustin Creppel completed nine of 21 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Justin Johnson led Ellender on the ground, rushing for 82 yards on 23 carries. Dan Mitchell caught three passes for 73 yards and a score.

“I was extremely proud of the way our defense played tonight,” said Valdez. “It was a wet night, a sloppy field, and they had a heavy hitting back, a bruiser, that we had to tackle play after play. As much as we stress tempo on offense, we also want to be that fast, playmaking defense. We were tonight.”

The win secures 2013 as the second time in the past three years the Rams have finished predistrict with a winning record, an impressive distinction given West St. John’s penchant for playing up. The Rams’ lone losses this season are to Riverside and Holy Cross.