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Rams step up in classification again against Plaquemine

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  • George Becnel
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  • September 19, 2017 - 6:51pm

File photosNico Davis (8) and teammate Wantrell Williams each topped 100 yards rushing in West St. John's 35-12 win last Friday night over the Bonnabel Bruins.


After Class 1A West St. John defeated Class 5A Bonnabel 35-12 last week, the Rams may have garnered enough power points to already qualify for the postseason.

What that’s not exactly the case, the Rams aren’t resting on any early laurels.

“We want to keep plugging away at it,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “Bonnabel is a good team. They are improving. They tested us early and we came out sluggish but we were able to turn it around and do the right things in the second half.”

Among the things the Rams did right against Bonnabel was feature a rushing attack that produced two 100-yard rushers in Nico Davis and Wantrell Williams.

West St. John (2-1) plays on the road for the second consecutive week when the Rams take on Plaquemine. After the game against the Green Devils, it will be awhile before the Rams venture back on the road.

“After this one, we don’t play on the road again until Week 10. This is happening for us at a good time. It’s early in the season and our guys are healthy. Hopefully, we will come out of this with no injuries and we will be ready to play White Castle and get ready for district,” Walters said.

The Rams are likely to encounter an ornery bunch of Green Devils. Plaquemine (2-1), which is ranked No. 5 in the Class 4A poll, is coming off a 35-0 loss to St. Thomas More.

“We hate to be the team they have to bounce back and show what they are capable of,” Walters said. “We make the schedule but we can’t make the things that happen in between. We will show up and play and I think our guys will be prepared and we look forward to the challenge.

“We know they are playing with a chip on their shoulder coming off of that loss. They got beat by a good opponent.”

Plaquemine features a Wing-T offense. Walters, a former Grambling player, is well versed in the Wing-T, and the exposure to the offense is a welcome site since the Rams are likely to face that style of offense in the Class 1A playoffs.

“Fortunately, in college I played for Eddie Robinson. That was his thing – the Wing-T,” said Walters. “For us (playing in Class 1A), it seems most schools above the Alexandria mark, they all run Wing-T or some variation of it. I’m used to it. Many has a similar style, and also Mangham.

“Plaquemine does it from out of the pistol. Their wings are a little bit back away from the line but it’s still the same concept – trapping inside, trapping outside, misdirection with the motion and trying to get you moving the wrong way so they can come back the other way.”

The key weapon on offense for Plaquemine is Wayne Toussant, a Louisiana Tech commitment.

“They will split him out, they will put him at the wing, and they’ll put him in the backfield. He’s in motion. They do a lot with him,” Walters said.

Herb Thomas is the quarterback for the Green Devils and is joined in the backfield by Michael Sproles and Treyvon Leblanc. Leblanc serves as the team’s backup quarterback.

“They do a lot of misdirection. They will throw the ball to (running backs) and let them throw it down the field. They definitely utilized their athletes. We have to be aware of the trick plays,” said Walters.

Another pass catching target besides Toussant is 6-foot-3, 199-pound tight end Cody Willis, a Nicholls commitment.

“He’s a big guy and is real strong. They spread him out at receiver but he’s primarily a tight end. We will match him with some of our big guys and see what happens,” Walters said.

The big man in Plaquemine’s 4-2-5 defense is Nelson Jenkins. The senior defensive tackle is a LSU commitment.

“He has a lot of intensity. He can play, no bones about it. He dominates up front. He demands a double-team most times. We have to get him blocked,” Walters said of Jenkins.

The secondary uses a mixture of zone coverages as well as playing man-to-man defense, according to Walters.

“We don’t see a whole lot of blitzing but you don’t have to with that big monster in the middle,” Walters said.

Plaquemine is another higher-classification opponent the Rams historically plays in the pre-district to get ready for league action. It helps to build the power points – while winning is nice, too.

“Week-to-week, I feel we can beat anybody,” Walters said. “I’ve never gone into a game as an assistant coach or as a head coach, feeling that we can’t do it or it’s not there for us. Anybody can beat anybody on any day.

“We teach out kids to come off the bus playing and don’t wait for it to happen to us. Let’s press them and get off and attack, be physical and play our style of ball and let’s see what happens.”

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.