St. James replaces a lot, but has players they can depend on

Published 9:30 am Sunday, August 29, 2021

VACHERIE — St. James has players to replace, but has young players they can rely on this season.

  “We have a lot of guys we have to replace,” said Robert Valdez, who enters his sixth season as St. James’ head coach. “We lost a lot of program guys in the past. It’s always good because the young kids have to step up. We have eight guys we have to replace. It’s always challenging, but we’ve got guys we can depend on.”

  St. James has eight starters back on offense and Valdez said they also get back one of the best kickers in the state in Alec Mahler.

  “He handles all of the kicking, punting and extra points,” Valdez said.

  Valdez said Shazz Preston has been ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the state.

  Running back Daniel Jupiter has committed to Air Force.

  Quarterback Marquell Bergeron is a second-year starter.

  Valdez said that they have a couple of young guys they are excited about, including wide receivers Kobe Brown and Kaden Williams.

  The offensive line will be anchored by Jace Philip and Deshawn Jenkins.

  “We’re going to look for those guys (Philip and Jenkins) to make a big impact,” Valdez said.

  Moving to defense, Valdez said they have some youth, but also have experience.

  “Jace (Philip) and Deshawn (Jenkins) will play offensive and defensive line. We’re going to be young at linebacker,” Valdez said.

  Braye Therence will be anchoring the linebacker unit.

  The Wildcats have two seniors that will be in the defensive backfield in safety Deandre Dumas and cornerback Trayshawn Johnson.

  “We have an extremely tough schedule that will hopefully let us make a run to the playoffs,” Valdez said.

  St. James will open the season with a road game against Terrebonne on Sept. 3.