West St. John ready to kickstart Class 1A run against Ascension Christian

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2014


West St. John is preparing to go on the road for its District 8-1A opener Friday night at Ascension Christian, and recent history indicates the team is also preparing for a heaping of success in the coming weeks. 

The Rams haven’t lost a Class 1A regular season game since 2010, when West St. John lost to eventual state champion White Castle — the first of two losses that season to the Bulldogs, who eliminated West St. John in the first round of the postseason.

Since then, West St. John has gone 15-0 in Class 1A play in the regular season and 25-3 overall when including the postseason, reeling off three district championships in the process. 

“I still feel the bitterness of losing to White Castle,” West St. John coach Robert Valdez said. “Ever since then, we’ve really approached this (part of the year) with a sense of urgency. We felt we had to reestablish ourselves after that game.

“Like everything in life, it takes some failure to get your attention and make you more successful. This was one of those situations.”

Valdez said the Rams (3-2) will “line up and play anybody” in predistrict play, but that when it comes time for 1A competition, the standard is known at West St. John.

“Everyone in our locker room knows that once we hit district, get to 1A competition, it’s time to take it to a whole other level.”

Ascension Christian (2-3) began the season by posting a 2-1 mark, with wins over Crescent City and Ridgewood. But the Lions enter this game off of two decisive Class 1A losses, a 54-0 defeat at home against Madison Prep and a 63-0 loss at Ascension Episcopal. 

Last season, West St. John rolled past Ascension Christian, 62-0, in Edgard. It was the Jeremy Jackson show in that game, the then-senior rushing for three first quarter touchdowns en route to a 35-point first quarter. 

Offensively, the Lions opt to go to the spread and attempt to isolate playmakers in space. 

“They want to take advantage of high school kids who can’t tackle real well, as many teams are doing today, ” Valdez said. “That’s my philosophy, anyway.”

Defensively, Ascension Christian’s base is a 3-3-5 alignment, similar to the one the Rams employ.

“They like to pressure from that,” Valdez said. “The good thing is we do see it every day in practice. We just need to execute.”

Rams quarterback Jemoine Green has passed for more than 500 yards this season. He pulled up after scoring a rushing touchdown in last week’s 49-8 victory over Ellender, but Valdez said his starter simply cramped up and should be good to go this week. 

It afforded WSJ the chance to bring backup quarterback Juwan Boudoin back into the lineup after some struggles against Holy Cross a week prior, and he responded by throwing a touchdown pass to Morell Bartholomew. Boudoin started at quarterback against the Tigers due to a shoulder injury incurred by Green in Week Three. 

“Everyone likes to armchair quarterback, and it would be real easy to give up on a kid (Boudoin) after he throws an interception against Holy Cross,” Valdez said. “But these are high school kids. 

“I was glad to see him have that chance to get his confidence back. He threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Morell.”