West St. John is young, but has veteran players
EDGARD — West St. John enters the 2021 season with a young team that has veteran players.
Coach Greg Johnson said the team has young skill position players and veteran offensive linemen.
“The guys (on the offensive line) have been battle-tested. A lot of the guys were in eighth grade when we won the state championship in 2017,” West St. John coach Greg Johnson said.
The veteran offensive linemen are Jacob Ellis, LeBrian Bethancourt, Jason August and Tylan Pierre.
The young skill position players are slot receiver Collin Smith and wide receiver Cortlan Shepherd.
Last year was a 1-4 season that saw West St. John reach the Class 1A playoffs, as the No. 9 seed. West St. John made it to the second round of the postseason, but was defeated by eighth-seeded and quarterfinalist Logansport, 22-8.
Johnson was promoted to head coach this month after Brandon Walters resigned. Johnson has been at the school for the last five years. He coached the running backs for the last two years and wide receivers the three years before that. Johnson was a member of the coaching staff for the 2017 state championship team.
The defense has the most veteran players and is anchored by inside linebacker Caleb Edwards. Edwards, who was an all-state player last year, has committed to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Johnson said they are building the defense around Edwards.
“You’re talking about a man’s child there. He has a nasty attitude in reference to the physical side of football and is a guy that loves to win. He’s going to give you everything he has,” Johnson said.
August will anchor the defensive line.
“He brings the tenacity we need on the defensive side of the ball. He’s physical and he has a motor that doesn’t stop,” Johnson said.
Inside linebacker Timothy Bartholomew, who can also play strong safety, returns to the starting lineup.
“He is a guy that is very knowledgeable about the game. He is a guy that has a great work ethic and is going to give you everything he has,” Johnson said.
Joshua Ellis, who is Jacob Ellis’ brother, will play safety, linebacker and running back.
Defensive back Devin Hall is a returning three-year starter and will also play safety.
Donte Lumar is a returning starter at cornerback, along with Kylin Smith.
Mikhail Burrell, who returns at free safety, will be starting at wide receiver for the first time.
Running back R’Khoby Robeson was an all-district running back and kicker/punter last year. He will continue in those roles this year.
West St. John opens the season with a road game against Hahnville on Sept. 3.
BY CHRIS KINKAID
THE DAILY NEWS
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