Rams close out Block late, 35-28

Published 3:21 am Saturday, November 30, 2013


LAPLACE – West St. John coach Robert Valdez said he never thought he’d ever be “sweating” in 30 degree weather, but that was essentially the case Friday night as host Block threatened to tie his Rams late in the fourth quarter.

But West St. John forced and recovered a fumble at its own 3-yard-line with 1:41 remaining and killed the clock from there, holding on for a 35-28 Class 1A quarterfinal victory.

The fourth-seeded Rams (10-2) will travel north to face Mangham in the state semifinals. It is the third consecutive season West St. John has advanced as far.

The Rams’ Jeremy Jackson was held to 82 rushing yards on 16 carries, but certainly made his presence known. Jackson scored three times, twice on kick returns, and his lone rushing score secured the eventual game-winning points with 9:14 left in regulation.

Jackson returned kickoffs for scores of 75 and 58 yards.

“He was basically untouched. Our special teams did a tremendous job,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “You’re gonna have games in the postseason where you’re going to have to rely on multiple phases. You need to be solid in all three.”

Block was able to find success running the football, and with that was able to keep the Rams potent offense on the sideline for longer than Valdez would have liked. Block rushed for 367 yards and quarterback Trevor Vault did not attempt a pass on the night.

“They brought it to us physically,” he said. “They did a good job of keeping us off our keys. They’re very, very tough, a real tenacious team. You’re gonna get some of these games in the playoffs.”

He also said that the Rams need to do a better job of converting scoring opportunities going forward, noting a Block defensive stop of the Rams down at the Bears’ goaline.

“We left some points on the field,” said Valdez.

Austin Howard completed 10 of 15 passes for 158 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Keith Miller and Morrell Bartholomew each hauled in touchdown catches of 22 and nine yards respectively.

Block’s Cameron Everett tied the game at 28 late in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run. Jackson answered with a 7-yard touchdown run to push WSJ ahead 35-28.

But West St. John came up with one big defensive play to close it out.

“We just needed one more play,” said Valdez. “Everyone was tired on both sides. We created a turnover … to make that play right there was just a huge thing.”

Everett rushed 23 times and gained 140 yards for Block. Raymond Plummer carried 24 times for 132 yards and two scores. Austin Danzy rushed 11 times for 88 yards.

The Rams snapped Block’s seven game winning streak. WSJ has now won eight straight.

Block finished 7-6 overall.