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St. James blanks another foe to reach Class 3A quarterfinals

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  • Feature Story
  • Game Recap
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  • RPF Staff
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  • November 18, 2017 - 2:56am

Shawn Preston (7) reacts after scoring the game's first touchdown on a spectacular 60-yard touchdown reception.

St. James won in dominating fashion for the second week in a row in the Class 3A playoffs, defeating Madison Prep Academy 50-0 Friday night in Baton Rouge.

“We came out and played as complete a game as we could play. I’m very proud of how our guys went on the road and took a business-like approach. I was very impressed with that,” St. James coach Robert Valdez said of his team’s win over Madison Prep.

The Wildcats opened the playoffs with a 39-0 thrashing of Marksville a week ago.

St. James, the No. 4 seed, advances to the quarterfinals and will host Kaplan. Kaplan, the No. 5 seed, defeated Iota, the No. 12 seed, 45-18.

“I think that’s the most gratifying part of it is the fact I’m working on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t a good feeling last year,” said Valdez, whose Wildcats lost in the opening round of the playoffs a year ago.

A Madison Prep fumble in the opening minutes of the game helped to set up a quick St. James touchdown on a 60-yard pass from quarterback Shamar Smith to Shawn Preston go give the Wildcats a 7-0 edge.

A 65-yard touchdown run by Dontaz Sterling two minutes later increased the St. James lead to 14-0.

St. James (9-3) took a 21-0 lead at the end of one quarter when Kailan Johnson scored on a 1-yard run. The score was set up when a Chargers punt hit the Madison Prep Academy upback, giving the Wildcats the ball at the Madison Prep 33.

Smith fielded a punt inside his own 5-yard line and raced 98 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-0 early in the second quarter.

“I was like, ‘oh, no,’ and the public address announcer and myself said, ‘oh, my God,’ at the same time. He (Smith) caught the ball and he just took off running toward our sideline and one guy missed. When he made that one guy miss, he just outran everybody else,” Valdez said.

It was then the defense’s turn to add a score when Arum Joseph returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown to make it 33-0.

“Arum Joseph did a good job of getting to his spot and stepping in front of the pass by the quarterback and picked it off and returned it for a touchdown,” Valdez said.

Following a 32-yard Alec Mahler field goal, Smith hooked up with Sterling on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the closing moments of the second quarter to give St. James a 43-0 halftime lead.

St. James added one score in the second half on a 20-yard touchdown run by Sean Lebeouf in the middle of the third quarter to round out the scoring.

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