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WSJ Rams seeking to retain hunger as defending state champions

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  • Feature Story
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • August 08, 2018 - 8:15am

Receiver Carrington Clark (10) and freshman defender Joshua Ellis (23) battle for the football during West St. John's practice on Tuesday afternoon.

In a bit of departure from the norm for West St. John, the Rebels had a week of camp workouts before taking a week off in anticipation of fall practice.

“We just tried to change it up a little bit and break the monotony a little bit,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “The guys have been working real hard this summer. We just ended up giving them days off last week to try to get things together for school, so we can hit the ground running this week.”

Through the first few days in shells, the Rebels are hard at work.

“So far, we’ve been having some pretty good practices. The guys have put in the work and we are pushing them but it’s never enough, as we say, but they are working and giving the effort. We want to see things done a little more consistently and a little more commitment from our so-called leaders and we will be OK,” said Walters.

Along with the normal trials and tribulations of a football season, the Rebels also must contend with holding the title of “defending state champions.”

“We are working the same but now it’s just with a greater sense of purpose,” Walters said. “Our kids have to truly understand that there aren’t any weeks off. Whether it’s a scrimmage or jamboree, or whatever it is, everybody wants to play the guy that’s been the best and they want to judge themselves against us. We understand we will get everybody’s best and we just have to be prepared for that mentally, and definitely physically, and just be able execute when we need to.”

Still, with human nature being what it is, complacency after winning a state title can’t help but rear its ugly head on occasion.

“It’s hard to fight, dealing with high school teenagers. We can say that the guys are not thinking about it, but they are. The key is to get them to keep that hunger and ignore the good things that they are hearing from parents or whatever and just get back to the grind and locked in,” said Walters.

So, that leads to the typical mantra of a football coach.

“Last year is over with,” Walters said. “We celebrated that and it’s time to get back to work and see what we can do this year.”

The Rams will continue with fall drills through next week before playing at Lutcher in a scrimmage August. 16. The following week, West St. John will host a jamboree. St. James will take on Assumption in the first game slated to begin at 5 p.m. That will be followed by the Rams squaring off against Donaldsonville.

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.