Rams Aiming for Another Playoff Run

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, October 12, 2016

EDGARD — One yard.

That was all the difference between the West St. John High football team becoming a 3-3 team with four games remaining in the 2016 season or going to 2-4.

The Rams were one yard away from the goal line with seven seconds remaining Friday night against undefeated Country Day in the District 12-2A opener for both teams. They trailed 17-12.

West St. John had stopped Country Day on a fourth-and-1 at the end of the first half, but it was at the 36, not the 1-yard line.

The Rams dropped the runner for a 2-yard loss.

But at the end of the game, it was Country Day who did the stopping, spoiling West St. John’s homecoming and their hopes for a 3-3 record.

Just a week ago, the Rams had put together perhaps their most complete game, knocking off Class 4A opponent Woodlawn of Baton Rouge 32-0.

Quarterback Austin Alexander had missed a 15-0 loss to Kentwood because of a concussion but had run roughshod through Woodlawn’s defense.

With his senior on the sideline against Kentwood, Rams coach Brandon Walters tried any number of substitutes under center. He started with DeAndre Gaudia and finished with wide receiver Jamal Walters.

Alexander returned to the lineup against Woodlawn and passed for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for another 94.

Obviously, the Rams are a much better team with Alexander than without him. His speed is incalculable but he also is smart with the ball.

“Oh we are a completely different team with him,” he said. “We are blessed to have him.”

Said Woodlawn coach Daniel Luquet: “It’s night and day.”

Walters still has high hopes for a strong finish and a trip to the playoffs.

As of Oct. 4 the Rams were No. 18 in the power rankings.

Last year the Rams were the No. 17 seed and made a surprising run in the playoffs.

They knocked off No. 16 Ferriday and No. 1 Many before losing to No. 8 Mangham in the Class 2A quarterfinals.

There is nothing to prevent the Rams from doing that again this season except themselves and maybe some luck. The key is to keep Alexander healthy, especially over the next several weeks as the Rams face the meat of their district schedule.

West St. John will travel to Riverside Friday for the traditional River Parishes showdown.

After hosting Sophie B. Wright Oct. 21, the Rams will travel to St. Charles Catholic then host Newman in the regular season finale.

Even loses can work in the Rams’ favor with the accumulation of power points. West St. John has played Class 3A St. James and Donaldsonville; Class 1A Southern Lab, which is 4-1, and Class 4A Woodlawn.

“We still have a lot of the season in front of us,” Walters said. “We will try to make a run.”