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Rams build big early lead in win over KIPP-Booker T. Washington

  • Tags:
  • Feature Story
  • Game Recap
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • October 26, 2017 - 8:57pm

File photosWest St. John's Kelon Gardner (52) brings down KIPP-Booker T. Washington quarterback Tyreese Johnson in the Rams' win Thursday night in Edgard.

West St. John’s game against visiting KIPP-Booker T. Washington on Thursday was an attempt for the Rams to maintain their routine.

The Rams were originally scheduled to play J.S. Clark on Thursday but when Clark decided not to field a football team in 2017, West St. John was left scrambling to find a Week 9 opponent in order to avoid an open date.

West St. John found an opponent in the form of KIPP-Booker T. Washington. The Lion feature a startup football program playing mostly a junior varsity-type schedule and WSJ opted to play the game although it will not count toward any additional power points. The Rams simply wanted to play football instead of having a week off.

In maintaining its routine, West St. John did on Thursday night what the Rams have been doing over the past few weeks – jumping out to a 26-0 halftime lead on their way to 60-12 victory.

The game began with each team going backward on their respective opening possessions – each ending on an interception. KIPP-BTW’s Isaiah Williams picked off West St. John quarterback D’Andrea Gaudia while Rams defender Kelon Gardner came up with an interception of a Tyreese Johnson pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

“I didn’t like the way we came out. I don’t know if we took them lightly. We definitely came out kind of flat. My hat’s off to those Lions,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said.

The rest of the half belonged to West St. John, particularly Nico Roy and Kylan Duhe and the Rams’ running game, along with WSJ’s defensive front.

“I like the way my guys played. They came out and fought,” said Walters.

Roy scored the first of his three, opening-half touchdowns four plays after Gardner’s interception to give West St. John a 7-0 lead.

The Rams (7-2) made it 14-0 after one quarter on a spinning, 8-yard run by Roy. His second touchdown came four plays after a snap from center was dropped by Keenan Boyd, the Lions’ punter, at the KIPP-Booker T. Washington 21.

Down by 14 points, the Lions (3-5) attempted to pick up a first down when facing fourth-and-1 at their own 43. Johnson was dropped for a 1-yard loss, turning the ball over on downs.

While Roy was doing most of his damage near the goal line, Duhe was picking up chunks of yards in the middle of the field. Following the defensive stop by the Rams, Duhe made it 20-0 when he hauled in a 14-yard pass from Gaudia in the left corner of the end zone with 5:06 remaining before halftime.

Roy finished with 52 yards and four touchdowns while Duhe rushed for 126 yards on 17 carries with two scores, one rushing and one receiving.

A young Lions team, featuring a roster with no juniors or seniors, failed to pick up a first down in the opening half against West St. John’s veteran front.

The back end of the Rams’ defense was just as imposing. Dontrell Davis came up with the first of his two, opening-half interceptions and returned the ball to the 4-yard line to set up Roy’s third touchdown of the half one play later as West St. John took a 26-0 halftime lead.

KIPP-Booker T. Washington struck first in the second half on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Shapaca Smith to make it 26-6.

West St. John countered with the next three touchdowns of the third quarter on a 5-yard run by Duhe, a 13-yard run by Roy and an 18-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Covan Barnes that made it 49-6.

The Lions closed out the quarter on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Damian Alexander.

A 7-yard run by Dontrell Davis at the 7:38 mark of the fourth quarter made it 52-12 before Trenton Grow returned a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown on the game’s last play for the 60-12 final.

“The defense continues to play lights out. We just need to keep working,” said Walters.

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.