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Rams seek return to ‘playing West St. John’ football after SJH loss

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  • George Becnel
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  • September 06, 2018 - 1:26pm

File photosWest St. John quarterback D'Andre Gaudia (3) and the rest of the Rams seek to jump-start the offense when WSJ plays at South Plaquemines on Friday night.

After watching it live last Friday night, West St. John coach Brandon Walters wasn’t in much of a mood to view tape of his Rams’ 43-0 season-opening loss to rival St. James.

“For me, I didn’t want to see too much of it. I saw enough of it on the sideline,” Walters said. “A lot of that wasn’t coaching. It was will and want to. We just didn’t have any fight and we didn’t play with any intensity. St. James came ready to play and they never let up and we never got anything positive going. With those type of games, you have to put it behind you and get ready for the next one or we will be in the same place.”

South Plaquemines, the Rams’ Friday night opponent, appears to be in the same place as a year ago. Last year, West St. John lost a heartbreaking 36-33 decision to the Wildcats after leading 33-15 with eight minutes left in the game.

The Hurricanes (0-1), coming off a season-opening 40-6 loss to Belle Chasse, were the victims of the Rams’ wrath a year ago coming off the St. James game as West St. John (0-1) drubbed South Plaquemines 34-0.

“It’s kind of unfortunate for (the Hurricanes) but there are two ways to look at it,” Walters said. “I tell our kids, ‘if I’m the kids playing you guys next week and I saw 43-0, I’d get excited and licking my chops.’ That’s one aspect to look at it. The other side is, ‘we don’t want to be the team that they get right on.’

“Hopefully, the latter is the case for us and we take out our frustrations on South Plaquemines and get it together.”

Guiding South Plaquemines’ spread offense is Isaac Williams. The Hurricanes’ quarterback, Walters said, likes to scramble a lot. Williams passed for more than 1,800 yards a year ago with 20 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Truce Williams, who had more than 800 receiving yards and eight touchdowns a year ago, is Williams’ favorite target.

“He’s real tall and they like to get him the ball,” Walters said of the 6-foot-4 receiver.

Dontavius Johnson and Micah Ancar are the running backs for South Plaquemines.

“They have two good running backs that come downhill,” Walters said. “They run the I-formation and they give you a lot of empty sets and let the quarterback do his thing.

“They have a lot of athletes over there that can play offensively. We just have to be ready to go four quarters and come out attacking.”

Defensively, Walters said the Rams expect much of the same from the Hurricanes as a year ago.

“Defensively, they will play like a six-man box,” Walters said. “Last year, they sent a lot of pressure at us and we expect the same thing, especially after what we saw last week. Guys will move the box against us and send a lot of pressure until we can beat them in other phases of the game. We expect the same thing from South Plaquemines. They gave us some of that last year when they put a lot of pressure and take over the gaps. Nine-man boxes and eight-man boxes, that’s what we’re going to see.”

Two key defenders for South Plaquemines are inside linebackers Hector Zepata and Charleston Givens.

“Those guys make it happen inside. They are coming. They send them a lot from inside and disguise their blitzes with their schemes, but those two guys are a big part of what they do defensively,” said Walters.

It will take both mental and physical improvement for the Rams to overcome last week’s loss, according to Walters.

“We have to hit on all cylinders and we have to play a perfect game and we have to execute,” the West St. John coach said. “Our kids need to see some positivity and have some success early and I think we will be fine.

“We just have to shake the bad-play bug. We have to shake the poor-execution bug. Once we get out of that funk, we will get back to playing West St. John ball.”

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.