Rams rivalry kicks off busy slate of games

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

EDGARD — The West St. John High football team’s jamboree game was about halfway over Thursday when the news hit the sideline.

Just a couple of miles up the river where St. James High was taking on Donaldsonville,  Wildcats quarterback Lowell Narcisse was hurt.

The collective sentiment was, “Oh no. Not again.”

The next day, everyone’s worst fears were realized when Narcisse, who missed all of the 2015 regular season recovering from a torn ACL, tweeted the news: “My MRI just came back and yes I tore my other ACL.”

Narcisse, who has committed to LSU and is expected to enroll in January, will miss this season, as well.

It was a devastating blow for everyone.

“He just gave up his high school career,” said St. James coach Robert Valdez. “I just feel for the kid. He’s been through more than most people. For a 17-year-old kid, it’s tough.”

The news also was a disappointment for Rams coach Brandon Walters, who has been working on a way to stop the dual-threat quarterback.

“I was really looking forward to the opportunity to coach against him,” Walters said. “It’s not every day you get to see a talent like that.”

Friday night’s game will go on without Narcisse and, hopefully, without any tropical disturbances.

St. James and West St. John have met in the “Railroad Classic” every year since 1993, except for the three meetings cancelled by hurricanes (2005, 2008 and 2012).

The Rams have won the last six meetings.

It is one of the biggest rivalries in the River Parishes.

“This is a serious rivalry,” Walters said. “Everywhere I go people want to ask me about St. James. You can’t go anywhere without people talking trash about this game.”

It is also the first for Valdez as a Wildcat against his former assistant coach of seven years.

“Let’s just say I know which hand he scratches his head with,” Walters said.

The game strategy won’t change now that Narcisse is out, Walters said.

First-year starter Austin Alexander was able to move the ball effectively last week with the help of running back Kylan Duhe and receiver Jairon Johnson.

Dontrell Davis returned a kickoff 95 yards for the first touchdown. The defense nabbed a pair of interceptions, one by Jamal Walters and another by Alyjah Borne.

For St. James last week, Narcisse passed for nearly 100 yards, ran for a touchdown and passed for one. He was trying to score again when the injury occurred.

“He was putting on a great exhibition,” Valdez said. “I even got caught up as a fan watching him.”

John Ehret at Riverside Academy

It’s the battle of the state runners-up.

Riverside was the Division III runner-up to Notre Dame. Ehret was the Class 5A runner-up to Zachary.

The Rebels beat Mandeville 7-0 in their jamboree. The lone touchdown came from Jeremy Gibson on a 4-yard run, set up by a 62-yard run by Louis Cheneau.

Junior quarterback Jordan Loving, who missed all of the 2015 regular season with a back injury, is trying to pick up where he left off in his freshman year.

Chris Lachney, who is the Rebels’ defensive coordinator, said his defense will be tested by Ehret’s speed.

“I don’t know if we’ll play a faster team this season,” Lachney said.

Thibodaux at St. Charles Catholic

The Comets will get a test this week against Class 5A opponent Thibodaux.

Amik Robertson scored both of the Tigers’ touchdowns, one a 55-yard run and the other on an 85-yard kickoff return.

“I asked their coach if we could play 15 on defense,” Comets coach Frank Monica said. “We have to stop him.”

The Comets showed they don’t lack for talent in last week’s jamboree win against St. Thomas Aquinas.

“I thought we executed much better than we did in the scrimmage against U-High,” Monica said.

What also helped was a simplified game plan. Quarterback Lloyd Nash threw only passes on the night.

Delery Oubre and Bryce Authement came through with interceptions on defense.

East St. John at Shaw

It was a frustrating night as the Wildcats fell to St. Aug 14-0  in Saturday’s jamboree.

Quarterback  Marquise Darensbourg looked sharp but couldn’t find ways to score.

The defense put forth a solid effort as well.

“We just need to clean up our mistakes,” Coach Aldon Foster said. “We’re not a bad football team.”