Rams coaching staff overhaul continues

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

EDGARD — West St. John High School interim head football coach Brandon Walters is inheriting a legacy of success in taking over the Rams program, but he is also losing decades of experience with the departure of the Rams’ offensive and defensive coordinators.

The overturn in the team’s leadership began in mid July when former West St. John High School head football coach Robert Valdez abruptly exited the program after seven years, opting to take over at Scotlandville in Baton Rouge. During Valdez’s time in charge of the Rams, he racked up an impressive 64-26 record, including going 14-1 in 2014, and led the team to one 1A state championship appearance. Along with Valdez, offensive coordinator Kris Peters, who has seen great success implementing and running the Rams high-powered offense, resigned to take the same position at Scotlandville.

Former Rams defensive coordinator Levanta Davis is the latest coach to leave the program. Davis interviewed for Rams interim head coach. Only days after Walters was promoted, Davis opted to join Valdez and Peters in Scotlandville.

“It is a tough loss losing coach Davis,” Walters said. “He was a great asset to this program and what we did defensively. He was a great catalyst behind what we did.”

While the leadership is changing, Walters said the playing style will remain the same.

“We are going to stick with what we do that works really well and build off of that,” Walters said.

Not only were Valdez, Peters and Davis the team’s top three coaches, they also played important developmental roles as position coaches.

On the defensive side of the ball, Walters will replace Davis as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Walters said he expects the transition to be seamless.

“We play a pretty good style of shutdown defense where we deny you opportunities to do what you want to do offensively, and it works,” Walters said. “We give them a lot of three and outs and put the ball in the offense’s hands pretty quickly.”

Replacing Peters at offensive coordinator is Derek “Skip” LaMothe, who served as quarterbacks coach last year. He will take over coaching receivers this year.

“Coach Skip was there in the spring and last fall also and he worked on the offensive side of the ball, so he is pretty familiar with that,” Walters said. “He has been doing this a long time.”

Prior to joining West St. John, LaMothe had seven years experience as head coach with L.B. Landry and O.P. Walker and spent one year as defensive backs coach at John Ehret.

In addition to serving as head coach, Valdez was offensive line coach, where he will be replaced by Alton Joseph. Joseph is a West St. John alum where he starred on the Rams basketball team.

“[Joseph] is here in the system,” Walters said.

“He is also an assistant coach with the basketball team, but he has played here and is an alumni. He is a young guy who is going to get in and learn some things and he is a West St. John person.”

The Rams will tap assistant coach Denarold Anderson to replace Walters at defensive line.

“Anderson is a former player here at West St. John and he has always worked with me with the defensive line,” Walters said.

“So he is going to do it primarily himself, and I am still going to keep my eye on it.”

Walters, who played on the defensive line at Grambling State University and spent nine years as the Rams’ defensive line coach, said it will be hard to stray away from the position.

“I like the trenches, I am a grunt,” Walters said.

“I am still going to be there, but [Anderson] is still going to be the defensive line coach.”

On offense, Walters will also coach the quarterbacks, where his son Jyron Walters will assist him.

Jyron Walters, who is enrolled at Tulane University, was a standout quarterback at McDonogh 35 and formerly played quarterback for the University of Northern Colorado Bears.

Walters said his son should be able to connect with the team members immediately.

“He has some valuable insight to the kids,” Walters said.

“He can give them some things they are learning right now from the college level. A lot of times the young kids listen to the younger people a little more than they do us.”