Many prep football success stories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Two football teams from the River Parishes remain alive in this year’s postseason, as the West St. John Rams and Destrehan Wildcats are each one victory away from advancing to the Superdome.
Success is no stranger to either program. West St. John has won three state championships in its history: in 1998, 2003 and 2004. Destrehan, meanwhile, has earned the crown five times: in 1941, 1949, 1973, 2007 and 2008.
It takes an absurd amount of drive and commitment to succeed at the highest level in prep football by players and coaches alike, and neither of these teams could be called a fluke. Destrehan hasn’t lost a game on the field all season, while West St. John has gone 10-2 with nine victories coming by a double-digit margin. Destrehan hasn’t won a game by less than 16 points. These are dominating teams in the midst of special seasons.
It was an extremely special season for St. James High as well. The Wildcats suffered a pair of dark seasons, going 0-19 over 2011 and 2012. Their losing streak extended to 25 games after an 0-4 start this season. But under new coach Dwain Jenkins, St. James came roaring back into the state’s consciousness in 2013, winning six of its final nine games en route to a finish as Class 2A quarterfinalist. St. James lost by eight to third-seeded Kinder after upsetting two higher-seeded teams and went down swinging. The Wildcats showed they’ve got a bright future.
Finally, a congratulations to Hahnville football coach Lou Valdin on a tremendous run with the Tigers. Valdin officially announced his resignation Monday, citing health reasons. He led the 2003 Tigers to a perfect season and Class 5A state championship. Overall, Valdin put together a 152-61 record as a head coach, and more than 100 of his players went on to sign college scholarships. Few have had such success.