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East St. John Wildcats face more conventional foe in West Jefferson

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  • George Becnel
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  • September 05, 2018 - 6:16pm

Photos by Jarrod MonaretEast St. John's Pershing Toney (left) and Dasmain Crosby look to spearhead the Wildcats' offensive attack against West Jefferson.

After Plaquemine scored a pair of touchdowns in the span of two minutes in the second quarter on it way to a 28-0 halftime lead and an eventual 42-20 victory last Friday, East St. John had to alter its strategy.

“Playing an offense like that, it’s kind of unconventional. So, what kind of happens is we had to kind of get away from out base stuff and kind of put in some things just for a week to stop what they do,” said East St. John coach Brandon Brown.

That can be a hard thing to do, especially against a team with a unique offense like the Green Devils’ double-wing attack.

Although East St. John lost in his debut as coach, Brown found some positives in the Wildcats’ performance against Plaquemine.

“I was pleased with our effort. We went down early, and I challenged our guys at halftime to go out and finish and finish strong. I think they came out and showed some fight,” Brown said.

With Plaquemine of the way, the Wildcats turn their attention to a West Jefferson team that features a more conventional offense when the teams meet Friday at West Jefferson.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to be in good shape. Looking at West Jeff, they are kind of a spread team. To me, we are kind of built for a team like that. That’s what we do so we see it a lot in practice,” Brown said.

West Jefferson (0-1) is coming off a 45-0 loss to Hahnville in which the Buccaneers were held to minus-29 yards rushing and 159 passing.

“Hahnville is real, real good up front and they were able to negate the running game and kind of force them to pass the football. That is what we are going to have to do Friday as well. We will have to make them one-dimensional like Hahnville did,” said Brown.

What Hahnville also did against West Jefferson was rush for 257 yards. That’s something Brown said the Wildcats would like to emulate as well.

“I think we can run the ball well. I think we are going to get into a good rhythm. That’s kind of what never happened Friday night and we struggled and once we got down, we were almost forced to throw it every down,” said Brown.

West Jefferson’s offense is centered around 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior quarterback Wallace Lucas.

“He has a big arm and he’s a big-play threat. He also can move well with his legs,” Brown said.

The Buccaneers run the ball just enough to keep opposing defenses honest and use a number of backs, including Jireh Childs and Barry Smith.

Greg Brooks, a Mississippi State commitment as a defensive back, also sees action the backfield.

“When he is on offense, he’s pretty much the key. We will have to make sure we keep some eyes on him,” Brown said.

Brooks also is a big-play return man for the Buccaneers.

“We will try our best to kick it away from him. We don’t want to give them anything and make them earn everything,” said Brown.

On the defensive side, West Jefferson utilizes a Split-4 alignment.

“They like to pressure, pressure, pressure. I think our offense will be OK with that. We are kind of built the same way. We like to bring a lot of pressure,” said Brown.

For all his ability on offense and as a return man, it’s Brooks’ skills on defense that will allow him the opportunity to play in the Southeastern Conference.

“That’s why he is getting all the accolades. He plays well and is very smooth out of his breaks. He’s a great defender,” Brown said.

If the Wildcats are to secure their first win of the season, Brown said, they will have to be successful in several tried-and-true football adages.

“We have to protect the ball on offense and eliminate the big play on defense. Their quarterback is a big-play guy and he can throw the ball really well. We can’t give up the deep and have to keep everything in front of us. If we do, we will be in good shape.”

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.