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West Jeff first of four-straight home games for East St. John

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  • George Becnel
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  • September 05, 2017 - 6:09pm

File photosThe start of a four-game home stand for East St. John could go a long way toward determining the fate of Alden Foster's Wildcats in 2017.

The fate of East St. John’s season is likely to be decided over the next four weeks.

The Wildcats play the first of four-consecutive home games when they host West Jefferson at 7 p.m. Friday at Joe Keller Stadium.

“We are excited about playing at home and starting a four-game home stretch. I believe that will give us a little boost to play on your home turf. Hopefully, it works to our advantage,” East St. John coach Alden Foster said.

After the West Jefferson game, the Wildcats will be at home for a final pre-district contest against McDonogh 35. East St. John will open District 7-5A play at home against Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois the following two weeks.

The Wildcats (0-1) are coming off a 35-13 season-opening loss at Plaquemine. East St. John trailed 14-7 and 21-13 during the game. Whenever ESJ seemed to put itself back in the game, the Green Devils came up with a score to add some distance on their way to the 22-point victory.

Trailing 14-0, East St. John put itself right back in the contest on 10-yard touchdown pass from Dasmain Crosby to Keith Matt.

The Wildcats found themselves down again by 14 points seconds later when Plaquemine’s Wayne Toussant returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and a 21-7 Green Devils advantage.

With 4:26 left in the third quarter, Crosby tossed to Cameron Grant, who broke a pair of tackles on his way to a 45-yard touchdown that made the score 21-13, but again disaster struck for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats were on the move again until an untimely interception led to another score for Plaquemine.

Leading 28-13, the Green Devils added a touchdown in the closing moments of the game.

“We kept killing ourselves. From the start of the game, we moved the ball. They never really stopped us. We had a few bad snaps at inopportune times against a good football team. You can’t do that against good football teams,” Foster said.

The Wildcats take on a West Jefferson team that is familiar with the River Parishes. The Buccaneers lost its season opener 41-6 to a Hahnville team that rushed for 425 yards.

Was the Tigers’ massive amount of ground yards left the question of whether it was a product of a great running attack by the Tigers or poor run defense by West Jefferson?

“I believe it’s a combination of both. Hahnville can run the football. They have a good offensive line and they have a special kid in ‘Pooka’ Williams. You can’t go on that. You have to go in and execute and do what you are supposed to do,” said Foster.

West Jefferson’s defensive approach under coach Cyril Crutchfield is an aggressive feast or famine approach.

“They are loaded with athletes and they will blitz you. They will blitz off the sideline,” Foster joked. “They will be in cover-zero and make you run. They will make you prove you can run it against their eight-man front. Every time they will have more in the box than you can block, so it’s up to you to execute your run game. Hahnville did a good job of that, and hopefully, we can improve on our run game this will as well as our passing game.”

West Jefferson runs a spread offense that is directed by junior quarterback Wallace Lucas.

“He can throw it and he’s got some guys to throw it to. We have our work cut out for us of containing him,” Foster said.

Lucas’ top targets are Dijon Singleton and Malik Hill.

“He (Singleton) and Malik Hill are great athletes. The quarterback and those two are arguably their best athletes,” Foster said.

Proper execution on both sides of the ball will be needed for the Wildcats to pick up a win in their home opener, according to Foster.

“Defensively, we have to execute,” the East St. John coach said. “We gave up a few big plays at inopportune times last week. This week, we have to take advantage of what they do and not give them the big play. They have guys that can go the distance from anywhere on the field..

“Offensively, we have to control the line of scrimmage. That will be the key. We can’t turn the ball over and have the bad snaps we had last week.”

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.