Julien, Rebels win shootout at St. James, 62-32

Published 4:58 am Saturday, September 27, 2014


VACHERIE — A lot of points were scored in the River Region Friday night.

Nowhere more than at St. James.

A combined 94 points graced the scoreboard as Riverside won a shootout with the host Wildcats, 62-32, in the District 8-2A opener for both teams. 

Von Julien scored three touchdowns, two on kickoff returns, to help the Rebels fend off an offensive onslaught from St. James quarterback Lowell Narcisse and playmaker Dontaze Costly, who connected for five touchdowns in the game.

“It was a complete team win,” said Riverside coach Bill Stubbs. “That was a team that concerned us in a number of different ways. Primarily Narcisse … he’s incredible. He was on a different level, and I don’t know if we’ll see a better (quarterback) going forward.”

Julien caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown and scored on kickoff returns of 85 and 80 yards. Darrion Cook hauled in seven catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Rebels quarterback Jordan Loving completed 18 of 24 passes for 221 yards and three scores.

Brandon Sanders rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on nine carries to lead the Rebels’ rushing attack. Herb McGee rushed for 46 yards and a score on five attempts.

The night began with an all too familiar scene for St. James’ liking. Just as the Wildcats (1-3) did a year ago, St. James turned the ball over on its first drive and dug an early hole, this time a Brandon Hymel forced fumble resulting in a Evan Veron scoop-and-score to give RA a 7-0 lead.

Riverside (4-0) quickly made it a two-score advantage at the 8:06 mark of the first quarter when Loving connected with Cook for nine yards.

Narcisse and Costly connected for a 7-yard score (and Narcisse ran in a two-point conversion) to answer, but Loving and Cook combined for another score to make it 21-8 just before the end of the first quarter.

St. James climbed back into the game to cut the lead to 28-20 on a 31-yard Narcisse and Costly touchdown, and St. James had a chance to cut even more into the lead after a rare defensive stop on the night. But the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize, and Riverside made a stop before Loving hit Julien for a short touchdown pass to make it 35-20 at halftime.

“That was our chance,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said. “If we make it 28-26 or 28-28, who knows what could happen. Instead, we don’t do what we need to do. We commit a few penalties, then we commit a few more on Riverside’s next drive. They put it in, we’re down 35-20 at half.”

Julien blew the game open from there, taking the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 41-20.

“Von Julien is special in the return game,” Jenkins said. “We planned to kick away from him, but we didn’t get the ball where we needed to, and they did a good job getting him in position to handle the ball.”

Said Stubbs, “That was kind of the catalyst for us. Von is always just one step away.”

St. James got within two scores, but never closer than that.

“We gave up two kickoff returns and a defensive touchdown on our first drive,” Jenkins said. “We spotted Riverside 21 points in the kicking game and on defense. That’s a championship-level program, and we gave them help. We knew we couldn’t afford to do that.”