Rams, Bulldogs will collide in key 8-1A game

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2014


EDGARD — West St. John hasn’t had to sweat it out over the past three weeks, outscoring Ellender, Ascension Christian and East Iberville by a combined 196-16 margin.

But nothing should come easily this week for the Rams, who play host to Ascension Catholic Friday night in District 8-1A competition.

Ascension Catholic is 6-1 this season and stands tied atop the district with West St. John and White Castle, each boasting 2-0 marks in the league.

“They’re very, very well-coached, and they give you a lot to prepare for,” West St. John coach Robert Valdez said. “Motions, options … the Wing-T in and of itself is a lot to digest. Defensively, they’ve got a big defensive tackle that was our district’s defensive MVP last year. He’s back. It’s a chance to test ourselves.”

Last year, the Rams beat Ascension Catholic in a shootout, 54-33. West St. John scored on all of its first half possessions in that one, but only held a 34-25 lead at halftime. The second half proved to be all Rams, giving them a leg up in the district race.

Valdez simplified things when asked what the ultimate key to success will be.

“Whoever controls the line of scrimmage, that’s the team that wins,” Valdez said. “If we can block them, we’re going to put points up. If we can tackle them, it will limit their opportunities.

“It’s not complicated. Everything always comes back to blocking and tackling.”

The main ballcarrier West St. John (5-2, 2-0) must limit is the Bulldogs’ Kaleb Winchester, who runs behind a big, talented offensive line.

“He’s a scatback type,” Valdez said. “When he has the ball, he’s so quick and finds the hole so well. Once he finds a crease, he attacks it. We have to stop him before he ramps up to full speed.”

Defensive tackle Delmond Landry will challenge the Rams’ interior offensive line. At 6’4”, 267 pounds, he earned All-State honors last season and has already committed to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He racked up 21 sacks and 73 tackles last season.

“He anchors them, and they’re very assignment sound,” Valdez said. “He’s one of several guys on their team who are very good at stopping the run.”

Though the Rams have blown through their past three opponents, Valdez isn’t too concerned about a slow start Friday night as his team gets re-acclimated to a “big game” situation.

In fact, he believes a Rams team fresh off of an 80-point effort last week is still just scratching the surface of its offensive potential.

“I know it sounds crazy,” Valdez said. “I still think we’re a work in progress. This week will be more of a challenge. I feel like we still haven’t put together four complete quarters, and this would be a good week to start.”