West St. John Rams prove tough people last

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The sons of Edgard, Wallace and the entire West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish showed “tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

It’s a phrase head football coach Robert Valdez is fond of using, and it was true Thursday night, when Valdez’s West St. John High Rams found themselves down 30-29 late in the third quarter against rival St. James High School.

The Wildcats were opening a brand new stadium in Vacherie, and the crowd was going wild.

“There were about 4,000 people there, and it seemed like 10,000 people,” Valdez said. “(The crowd was) very, very loud. The thing I commend my kids on is how they handled adversity. We always talk about how you handle things when the good things happen and when the bad things happen.”

The Rams and coaching staff, led by Valdez, responded as West St. John scored the last 10 points, winning the hotly contest battle, 39-30.

“I told them, ‘guys, listen, you will be able to remember this the rest of your lives,’” Valdez said of his pregame message to his players. “‘This is something, no matter what you are and where you are in life, you will always remember the very first game played at the stadium. You played in it and you won it. That is something nobody will ever be able to take away from you.’”

Those words proved prophetic, because the teenagers of Edgard, Wallace and the rest of the West Bank made them so.

You could make a case with all hoopla surrounding the new stadium and all the excitement about the game being televised regionally, that the Rams were the least-talked about aspect of the pregame build-up.

That wasn’t the case after four quarters of football were played.

Valdez said he knew getting maximum effort from his players wasn’t going to be a problem but admitted being a little surprised at how well his team executed early in the ballgame.

“These kids have a lot of pressure to carry on the legacy and continue to play well against their big crosstown rivals,” he said.

“They were able to handle adversity really well. There was no panic. There was no finger pointing. There was no questioning of what we were doing.”

That resolve should be commended, because the Rams proved tough times don’t last, tough people do.