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West St. John opens district play against unbeaten Houma Christian

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  • George Becnel
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  • October 04, 2017 - 9:17pm

File photosWest St. John is coming off a 61-6 domination of the White Castle Bulldogs. The Rams host Houma Christian on Friday night in the District 8-1A opener.

West St. John’s 61-6 blowout of White Castle last week showed just what the Rams of capable of when they play in their own classification.

After having beaten the likes of Class 5A Bonnabel and falling to Class 4A Plaquemine, West St. John is a battle-tested 3-2 going into the District 8-1A open on Friday night against visiting Houma Christian.

“Playing teams in our own classifications definitely evens things out for us,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “Of course, we like the pre-district matchups that we have. We kind of seek out those bigger schools. When it gets times to play the schools in our classification we definitely feel we can do a lot better and things are more evenly matched.”

Houma Christian is unbeaten through five games for the best start in Warriors history after going 3-7 a year ago.

“They have some pretty big kids and we expect to get their best. It’s a good program and the kids are being coached really well,” Walters said.

While neither team is ranking in the Class 1A poll, Houma Christian currently has the second-highest power ranking among select Division IV schools, while West St. John has the third-highest ranking among 1A schools.

While West St. John’s 3-2 start have come against the likes of St. James, Bonnabel and Plaquemine, Houma Christian’s foes have included Highland Baptist, Westminster Abbey, Ascension Christian, Ben Franklin and East Iberville.

“We expect a big test from them and we expect them to play really hard and it should be a good matchup. We understand they are a good team and that they are going to test us but we will give them a little test as well,” said Walters.

The Warriors feature a spread attack on offense.

“They run a spread type of offense. The receiver, Je’Corie Ward, is a real shifty kid. The quarterback (Damien Pennison) throws real well. He has a good, strong arm. Their back, Zachariah Trujillo, he gets the ball a lot and he can run it pretty well,” Walters said.

Defensively, the Warriors play a 3-4.

“They get after it a little bit. They like to stay in coverage. It seems like they like to keep things in front of them,” Walters said of the Houma Christian.

With a limited number of players on the roster, many of the Warriors have to play on both sides of the ball. A case in point is Trujillo, who also is Houma Christian’s middle linebacker.

“He’s a real tough kid. He runs hard but he also likes to get his nose dirty on defense. He’s one of those guys that can play on both sides of the field and he’s doing really well,” Walters said of Trujillo.

Along with Trujillo, among the others who play on both offense and defense include Ward, Pennison, Isaiah Parfait, Brant Roger, James Allen and Jeremy Bardarson.

“They mirror the 1A style of play. They have to fight on both sides of the ball, and in some cases, on special teams,” said Walters.

Friday night’s encounter is the district opener, which Walters said the Rams hope will be just the start of bigger and better things for West St. John this season.

“We like to say we are playing for state championships around here. We’ve been saying it for years. We want to have a good showing in district. It’s always good to come out and be the district champ. It kind of puts you in the right position going into the playoffs. We’re not looking ahead. We want to take one game at a time but district championships are a pretty good thing to have as well,” the West St. John coach said.

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.