WSJ sets high standards for football quarterfinals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021

LAPLACE — Some people think of Thanksgiving Break as a time to relax and indulge. For the West St. John football team, it’s a time to buckle down, stay prepared and focus on the task at hand — forging a path to the Class 1A football championship.

West St. John earned a spot in the quarterfinals after last week’s 18-6 upset win over No. 5 Slaughter Community Charter. The No. 12 Rams will now host No. 4 Oak Grove at 7 p.m. Friday night for a shot at the semifinals.

Head coach Greg Johnson said West St. John has strong football tradition with high standards for success. Winning is the only option, and the Rams aren’t counting themselves out against Oak Grove just because they are perceived as the underdogs.

“When you get to playoffs, everybody is 0-0. It’s who wants it the most. You win, you move on. You lose, you turn in your equipment. I told the guys I need four weeks of everything you have, all the blood in your body. Now we are on Week Three, and the challenge is going to get tougher and tougher,” Johnson said. “Oak Grove is going to be a big team. They are going to be well-coached on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. They are going to be physical. We have to be mindful of the task at hand and be prepared at all times. Stay humble. Be focused. The task at hand is to win.”

Oak Grove went 6-4 in the regular season and earned a first-round bye in the Class 1A playoffs. They hosted East Beauregard in the second round for a 41-14 win. Meanwhile, West St. John went 2-4 in its regular season but came alive in the first round of playoffs with a 28-0 over Block.

Round Two of playoffs saw the same level of success. Johnson was impressed by Kailen Edwards, a freshman running back who is growing into a big playmaker on the offensive side. Kailen and his older brother, Kailep Edwards each had touchdowns against Slaughter Community Charter. West St. John also had a two-point safety by Jason August on defense and a two-point conversion by Timothy Bartholomew.