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West St. John tops Donaldsonville; St. James falls to Assumption

  • Tags:
  • Game Recap
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • August 24, 2018 - 12:18am

St. James quarterback Shamar Smith and the St. James offense was unable to produce any points in a 6-0 loss to Assumption in jamboree action Thursday night in Edgard.

With neither offense able to score in the second half, West St. John’s defense took matters into their own hands in a 26-16 win over Donaldsonville at the West St. John Jamboree on Thursday night in Edgard.

In an earlier game from the jamboree, Assumption edged St. James 6-0.

In other jamboree action involving River Parish teams, Hahnville lost 10-7 to visiting Jesuit and East St. John fell 13-8 to John Ehret.

West St. John was clinging to a 14-8 lead in the second half of its game with Donaldsonville before a pair of scoop-and-scores Rams in a span of 24 seconds to balloon their advantage to 26-9 with 4:11 left in the game.

Antoine Carter came up with the first fumble recovery for the Rams when he picked up at the Donaldsonville 16 and raced in for the score. A failed two-point conversion attempt left West St. John with a 20-8 edge at the 4:35 mark of the second half.

A fumble by Donaldsonville’s Tyrese Ester on the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession was returned 20 yards by Joshua Elis as the Rams built their lead to 26-8.

“We kind of balance each other out and make plays when the other (unit) stalls,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said of the Rams’ defense picking up the slack for the offense.”

Donaldsonville added a late touchdown and two-point conversion with less than a minute remaining for the 26-16 final.

West St. John dominated time of possession for most of the opening 15-minute half but was fortunate to hold a 14-8 lead at halftime.

The Rams used up almost six minutes on the game’s opening drive but came away with no points when quarterback D’Andre Gaudia dropped a snap from center on fourth-and-7 from the Donaldsonville 22.

“We’ve got to cash in when we get down there. We had too many instances when we get to where we need to get and we don’t make the plays. It’s just something that we need to clean up and work on, but I think we will be fine. I liked some of the things I did see as far as execution and our effort this week was a lot better than we did last week,” Walters said.

Less than a minute later, the Rams had the ball back at the Donaldsonville 26 after an interception by Zyron Wilson.

West St. John cashed in two plays later on a 21-yard tackle-breaking run up the middle by Kylan Duhe. A missed extra-point attempt left the Rams with a 6-0 lead with 8:01 left in the first half.

For all the effort the Rams mustered to build the lead, it was wiped away in 12 seconds. That’s how long it took Christian Bell to return the ensuing kickoff 81 yards down the sideline in front of the Tigers’ bench to tie the score. A two-point conversion pass to Raeland Johnson gave Donaldsonville an 8-6 edge.

“We could have had just our kicker out there and just kick it off and let them run it back because that’s basically what we did. We just didn’t run down and try to tackle anybody. We can’t have those type of plays because they are game changers,” Walters said.

West St. John countered on its next possession to regain the lead.

A kick return to the WSJ 46 by Dakyri Jackson ignited the Rams.

Moments later, a personal foul penalty on the Tigers gave West St. John a first down at the Donaldsonville 12.

Three plays later, a 1-yard run by Duhe helped West St. John regain the lead. A two-point conversion pass put the Rams on top 14-8 with 4:28 left in the opening half.

St. James versus Assumption: After being unable to move the ball in the opening half, the Wildcats put together a drive on St. James’ opening possession of the second half but failed to come away with points.

Like the first half, the Wildcats started deep in their own territory at the St. James 18. Facing a second-and-10 at the Mustang 36, St. James quarterback Shamar Smith forced a pass while under pressure that was intercepted by Assumption’s Travion Bozeman with 5:12 remaining in the game.

“I just think we have to be able to control the ball in that situation. We can’t make that type of mistake on second down. When you have that opportunity, you’ve got to be able to come away with points,” St. James coach Robert Valdez said.

St. James appeared to be on its way to getting the ball back when the Wildcats forced a Mustang fumble from the Assumption 34. Tyler Steib fumbled the punt, giving the ball to Assumption at the Wildcats’ 37.

The Wildcats got the ball back on downs, dropping Tyran Cassie for a loss on fourth down as St. James gained possession at its own 33 with 1:34 left in the game.

St. James, in turn, gave up the ball with 51 seconds left in the game when a Smith pass on fourth-and-10 from the Assumption 49 was incomplete.

Poor field position plagued St. James in the first half.

“We have some young guys that have to get game experience. The good thing about a jamboree is that you come out here and get live game experience. We made some blocking mistakes and we made some mental mistakes. You can’t continue to make these types of mistakes because they come back and haunt you. The good thing about it is they are fixable. We are not making lack-of-effort mistakes.

A punt deep in St. James territory pinned the Wildcats at their own 3-yard line. Forced to punt from the St. James 20, a short punt gave Assumption the ball at the Wildcats’ 41.

A facemask penalty on St. James after a run gave Assumption a first down at the St. James 20.

Two plays later, Assumption quarterback Tajh Parker found Rashawn Jarvis in the right corner of the end zone for a 6-0 Assumption lead with 4:49 remaining.

Unable to move the ball throughout the first half, another short punt by St. James gave Assumption the ball at the St. James 44 with 1:19 left in the half.

St. James managed to keep the deficit to six points when Lamon Lewis blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt by Josh Ratcliff on the final play of the first half.

Hahnville versus Jesuit: Playing without quarterback Andrew Robison, who was declared ineligible for the season earlier in the day as part of sanctions handed out by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association against Hahnville, the Tigers were held to 13 yards of total offense in the jamboree loss to visiting Jesuit.

Nick Saltaformaggio was able to coach in the jamboree, but the fifth-year Hahnville coach has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season as part of the sanctions handed down by the LHSAA.

Expected to have a potent passing attack with Robison, a transfer from Vandebilt Catholic in Houma, the only points the Tigers could produce against Jesuit came on a 95-yard kickoff return by Jha’quan Jackson.

Jackson, who was the Tigers’ quarterback a year ago, switched back to his natural receiver position with the arrival of Robison.

Although the Tigers were not able to generate much offense, the Hahnville defense kept the team in the game, holding Jesuit to a touchdown run by Willie Robinson and a Blue Jays field goal.

East St. John versus John Ehret: The Wildcats’ only points in the jamboree held at Hoss Memtsas came in the second half on a touchdown and a safety.

A 4-yard touchdown run by East St. John quarterback Dasmain “Duke” Crosby on a drive kept alive by a pair of Patriot personal-foul calls narrowed the Wildcats’ deficit to 13-6.

ESJ made it 13-8 moments later on a safety when a snap from center went over the head of Ehret punter Javonte Jones and into the end zone with less than seven minutes left in the game.

Ehret led 6-0 at halftime on an 8-yard run by Damond Leonard.

The Patriots extended their lead to 13-0 early in the second half on a 9-yard run by quarterback Travis Mumphrey.

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.