Howard’s 5 TDs lead Rams to 56-10 win

Published 4:07 am Saturday, November 2, 2013


LAPLACE – Even if relegated to the garage for awhile, it doesn’t take the West St. John offense long to get revved up.
The Rams ramped it up from 0 to 60 in an instant Friday night, clinching at least a share of the District 8-1A crown via a 56-10 domination of visiting St. John-Plaquemine.
St. John controlled the ball for almost the entirety of the first quarter, leading 3-0 after a frame that saw West St. John run just four total plays. 
But from there, Austin Howard led a Rams charge that saw WSJ score 56 points over the next 26 minutes of action. Howard accounted for five touchdowns, rushing for three of them and passing for two more. In essentially two quarters of play, he completed 11 of 14 passes for 165 yards and no interceptions.
“They came out fighting tonight,” said Howard. “But they needed more of it because we weren’t letting this game go. They set out to keep the ball away from our offense, but we made the most of our opportunities when we had it.”
Jeremy Jackson rushed 10 times for 148 yards and a score while adding two receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown. Bradley Borne rushed eight times for 45 yards and a touchdown.
It is the third consecutive district championship for West St. John.
The Rams scored touchdowns on eight consecutive possessions after its initial drive.
“We’ve gotten into a real offensive rhythm now,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “It’s kind of like a kid with a new toy. We feel like with Jeremy, Austin, our offensive line and wide receivers, we’ve found a formula as to what works … teams have to constantly account for where Jeremy is. When we see two safeties back, we feel good about our matchup in the run game. And otherwise, Austin and the receivers can make you pay for single coverage.”
St. John (2-7, 2-2) controlled the ball on the ground early in the game, chewing up nearly eight minutes before a field goal made it 3-0. A sack set West St. John back on its first possession and on fourth and two, St. John stopped Jackson at the Rams own 43 yard line to take over on downs.
St. John quarterback Hunter Schnebelen and tailback Gavin Primeaux led the Eagles on another drive, running for gains of 16 and 13 respectively to take the game into the second quarter. St. John reached the Rams’ 29, but Borne recovered a fumble to get the ball back for the Rams.
Then West St. John (7-2, 4-0) kicked it into high gear.
Jackson got loose for a gain of 59 yards, setting the Rams up at the Eagle 2. St. John stopped him for no gain on the next play, but the Rams took advantage of the Eagles’ over pursuit of Jackson on the next play as Howard faked a handoff and darted into the end zone untouched to make it 7-3 with 9:18 left in the first half.
For the second straight possession, St. John fumbled the ball away to the Rams, this time at the Eagles’ 44. An 18-yard Borne run was the highlight on a six-play drive capped by a 6-yard Howard draw that made it 13-3 with 5:56 left.
The Rams forced a three-and-out and got the ball back on a short field. It took just two plays for Howard to hit Jackson on the sideline for a 33-yard score, the back making one defender miss then exploding for pay dirt. WSJ went for two and Howard again hit Jackson for the conversion to make it 21-3.
The Eagles turned it over for a third time when Jimmy Conner intercepted a pass attempt on a fake punt. The Rams took over on their own 42 with under a minute left in the half. Howard completed two passes, the second drawing a roughing the passer penalty. On the half’s final play, he rolled out from the Eagles’ 21, evaded a defender and hurled it to Morrell Bartholomew, who won a jump ball in the corner of the end zone to make it a 28-3 halftime score.
“I knew I had to make one guys miss and get it up there to my tall receiver,” said Howard. “Morrell’s a basketball player. I knew he was there and could make the play so I threw it up to him.”
Said St. John coach Crickett Crockett, “He’s one of the best quarterback’s we’ve faced all year. And you can’t play back because if Jackson finds a crease, he’s gone.”
If not that, the nail in the coffin came on WSJ’s first drive of the second half. The Rams started on the St. John 23 after a big run back by Jackson and a personal foul on the Eagles. Borne capped a 3-play drive with a 5-yard score to make it 35-3.
Jackson added a 16-yard score, Howard connected with Keith Miller for a 24-yard touchdown and Lamore Boudoin rushed for a 4-yard touchdown to round out the Rams’ scoring.
Howard said he couldn’t be happier running the Ram offense, a unit averaging 40.8 points per game — a number that spikes to 55 points per game in Class 1A play.
“It’s very fun,” said Howard. “Coach gives me the freedom to do what I see and make checks. I’ve got the best coaches in football, period. Between them, my receivers and my offensive line, all the glory goes to those guys. They make it possible.”
And as for the district title?
The quarterback’s glad for it, but he sees bigger things ahead.
“In my mind, it’s okay,” he said. “But we’ve got our eye on bigger things ahead.”