Rams to see improved Eagles team

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013


LAPLACE — Unlike its previous three district foes, the team West St. John will face this week is a more of an enigma than a known quantity.
Is St. John-Plaquemine the team that began the season 0-6, including a 34-13 loss District 8-1A loss to Ascension Catholic? Or is it closer to the team that upset White Castle, 17-14, and most recently topped East Iberville 47-16?
West St. John coach Robert Valdez is convinced of the latter and is currently preparing his Rams to meet that challenge head on.
“I think it took them a little time with coach (Crickett) Crockett to get everything going,” said Valdez. “But this is a strong football team. Offensively, they play a lot like Stanford. They use multiple formations, constantly motion guys out and try to confuse you.’
“We’ve got to identify their base scheme. You can’t get caught up in all the movement. They’re going to run and base play-action off of it. It’s a good test and a chance for us to compete.”
Junior quarterback Hunter Schnebelen leads the St. John charge.
“He’s the catalyst,” said Valdez. “He makes them go. He does a lot of running. They’ll put him in the Wildcat and let him go.”
Defensively, St. John brings a disruptive defensive line to the table, one that has keyed a turnaround. The Eagles allowed an average of 42 points per game through its first four games. St. John (2-6, 2-1) has allowed just 20 points per game since, holding three of four opponents to 17 points or less in that span.
“They’ve had some losses that were close or, in some cases, closer than the final score made it look,” said Valdez. “Their defense keeps them in most games and gives them a chance.”
Valdez said that St. John’s recent improvement comes down to execution.
“It’s a lot better right now,” he said. “They’re flying around and playing with a lot more confidence and fire.”
West St. John (6-2, 3-0) can clinch at least a share of the District 8-1A title with a win Friday, as every team but the Rams has lost a district game.
The Rams are averaging 39 points per game this season, and 44.5 in the seven games the team has played with star tailback Jeremy Jackson. Jackson’s 233 yard, four-touchdown effort last week helped lift the Rams over Ascension Catholic. Jackson is up to 1,150 yards and 15 touchdowns on 102 carries this season. He averages 11.2 yards an attempt.