- Feature Story
- Game Preview
- George Becnel
- October 11, 2017 - 5:22pm
The West St. John Rams are on a roll.
Although West St. John more than held its own against higher-classification teams, the Rams have been dominant since starting to play schools on their own Class 1A level.
The Rams scored 35 points in the first quarter in a runaway victory over non-league foe White Castle two weeks ago and followed that up with a 33-point opening quarter performance in a 62-0 thrashing of previously unbeaten Houma Christian last Friday to open District 8-1A play.
Perhaps with still something the prove – West St. John is unranked in Class 1A yet sports the No. 1 power ranking in the classification – perhaps another beat-down may be in the offing.
“It’s been a good feeling for the guys to get after some of the kids in our classification,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “We prepare the same way, regardless of the classification of the schools but the kids are excited to finally be in district play and to see what it will be like to go against new teams and schools we aren’t familiar with and keep trying to keep winning.”
West St. John hosts a Covenant Christian team that sports a 4-2 overall mark like the Rams. The Lions are 0-1 in district play, coming off a 36-13 loss to Varnado.
A lock for the playoffs, the Rams get a chance to experience what might be down the line in taking on Covenant Christian and its Wing-T offense. Many north Louisiana teams run a Wing-T offense but the Rams generally don’t face the attack during until the playoffs.
The Lions version of the Wing-T “is kind of similar to what we see from a Many or Mangham without a lot of different formations and stuff like that,” Walters said. “They trap real well inside and the guys move pretty well.
“This is our first time this season facing a true Wing-T. It just helps to get this look early in the season in district and gives us a chance to see how we line up to it and how we would like to attack it and how we fare against it.”
The Lions have played both Trenton Holloway and Nicholas Lagendyk at quarterback, although Holloway has seen the bulk of the action as the season has progressed.
“We’ve seen (Holloway) in there more a lot,” said Walters. “He’s an elusive guy. He can make people miss and he also plays on defense at the safety spot. We’ve seen Nicholas Lagendyk earlier in the year a little bit. In the last game both of them kind of played a little bit. We’ve seen Holloway. He’s more of the guy that they have tapped but they both have been in there.
“They run the same plays. They will throw it a little more with him (Lagendyk). Holloway gets out in space and he can make you miss him.”
The Lions’ wingbacks are Devante Johnson and Anthony Ruffin.
“Devante Johnson is a really good-looking kid. He’s real tall and big and moves well. Anthony Ruffin is more of the speedy guy. We definitely have to make sure we have him under control in coverages and be able to wrap him up when he gets the ball in his hands. He likes to go the distance,” said Walters.
Channing Holloway also has gotten the ball out of the backfield while the team’s top receiving target is Devin Babin.
Many of Covenant Christian’s linemen play both on offense and defense.
“It’s that time of year,” Walters said. “Those guys generally will put their best 11 on the field as we do. They definitely have a few kids that are going both ways.”
The Lions play a traditional 4-3 defense.
“They will crowd the line of scrimmage and crowd the box to stop the run. They will play with one safety high and sometimes it looks like two. They like to take away the run lanes and force you to throw the ball,” Walters explained.
So, what will it take to keep the roll going?
“We just need to be consistent and continue to fly the plane straight so to speak and not get off course,” said Walters. “We can’t get caught up into reading any press clippings or anything like that. We just need to keep playing West St. John type of ball – keep being physical and attack people and just finish the whole game. We just need to play four intense quarters of football and I think West St. John will be fine.”