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WSJ plays true ‘Homecoming’ when Rams host St. Martin’s

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  • Game Preview
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • October 31, 2018 - 8:24pm

File photosBrandon Walters and his West St. John Rams can go undefeated in District 8-1A play for the second year in a row with win over visiting St. Martin's on Friday.

If there is any team in 2018 that has a true sense of Homecoming, it has to be the West St. John Rams.

After beating Bonnabel 40-20 at home in Week 3, the Rams have been away from Edgard ever since.

West St. John, ranked No. 8 in the Class 1A poll, played five consecutive road games before having an open date last week. The Rams will host St. Martin’s Episcopal for Homecoming in only WSJ’s second home game of the season.

“The past few days have been pretty crazy so far,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “A home game is one thing, but Homecoming, it’s a different animal. We’re dealing with that and taking care of all of the things having the guys stay focused because they have so many activities.

“We just have to keep reminding them that this is about a game, also. We need to be prepared for what we have to do Friday.”

What the Rams have to do is defeat St. Martin’s to go undefeated in District 8-1A play for the second year in a row.

“We are excited about it,” Walters said of the prospect of being unbeaten in league play for two years in a row. “It’s good to have some continued success. We try to keep the kids grounded and focused from week to week. It’s definitely a lot more challenging this year. Our district has gotten really good. They all have good running backs and quarterbacks and couple have some really good defensive linemen.”

The Saints enter Friday night’s game 3-6 overall and 0-3 in district play. The Rams, thanks to going 4-1 on the road in the five-game stretch, are 6-2 overall and 3-0 in district. The only loss was 31-6 to Class 4A Plaquemine and the Rams won the next four after the loss to the Green Devils.

“It wasn’t fun going through it, but looking back it was a great experience for the kids and for the staff to be in a very, very hostile environment and it seems like everything is against you and still be able to buckle down and fight through it to be successful,” Walters said of all the road games. “We will have to do that on the road in the playoffs. Playing some of the road games has provided us with a great test and many different challenges. You have a different set of officials and associations and deal with all that kind of stuff. Being able to master that and being on the road, it provides valuable experience, especially for our younger kids.”

Although West St. John was off last week, the Rams tried to keep things as routine as possible, according to Walters.

“The guys know they were off but we didn’t want them to be off mentally,” the West St. John coach said. “We tried to do the same as we would do with film study and weightlifting and study hall. We kind of wanted to keep the same routine.

“We practiced but took the pads off. We worked on techniques and cleaned up some of the miscues and mistakes. We focused on execution. We self-scouted ourselves.”

The main offensive weapon for the Saints is 6-foot-1, 204-pound fullback Monte Lewis.
“They pound him inside a lot. He has the body and physicality to do that. They use him more as a downhill running guy. They get in into the I-formation and run some lead at you. He’s the fullback in that particular formation,” said Walters.

St. Martin’s quarterback is Ethan Everitt.

“They will pose a challenge for us,” Walters said of the Saints’ offense. “We don’t want to take anyone lightly. We can’t look past them. We have to take care of business here.”

Defensively, the Saints are based out of a four-man front.

“They will mix it up. They will go to a 3-4 look a little bit but they are predominately a four-down front. They don’t send a whole lot of pressure. They stay back and try to play coverage. Sometimes they will give you some man-to-man coverages,” said Walters.

Many of the Saints play both ways, including Everett, who plays on the defensive, and Lewis, who plays linebacker and defensive end.

“In this district, in this class, you have to use every soldier that can shoot it and strap his boots up,” Walters said.

Currently fifth in the power ratings, the Rams will host a first-round playoff game. The outcome of St. Martin’s game likely won’t lead to much movement, according to Walters.

“It doesn’t matter,” the coach said. “I would like to be in the top tier of it but once you start playing, it doesn’t matter. You have to win that night. Whoever they put us in against, we will get in there and fight.”

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.