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West St. John Rams face familiar tough start in return to Class 1A

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  • George Becnel
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  • April 25, 2017 - 1:21pm

File photosAfter electing to play up in Class 2A the past two seasons, the West St. John Rams are returning to Class 1A for 2017.

After a two-year stint in which West St. John elected to play up in classification, the Rams are returning to their natural Class 1A status in 2017.

That means West St. John will be facing schools with similar enrollment and squad sizes, but before the Rams get to that point, they will have to face a pre-district slate that includes games against larger schools – a WSJ tradition.

“I wanted to play some 5A and 4A schools to give us some work before the playoffs and district play,” said Brandon Walters, who is entering his third year as West St. John coach.

The Rams open the 2017 regular season by hosting nearby rival St. James. Dubbed the Railroad Classic, the trophy went to the Wildcats last year for the first time since the inception of the award.

“That game will always be a battle. We are looking for a little payback from last year. We want that trophy back,” said Walters.

The Rams are at home again for Week 2 against South Plaquemines. A year ago, West St. John defeated the Hurricanes 50-37 in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

“South Plaquemine, they played us a really tough game in the playoffs last year. They jumped out on us early. We knows those kids will be scrappy,” said Walters.

The Rams are on the road for the next two weeks against Class 5A Bonnabel and Plaquemine, a Class 4A power.

“We went back to (playing) that game,” said Walters, referring to Bonnabel. “In the past, we’ve had some really good ones with them. We’ve beaten them and they’ve beaten us. We definitely get a good game against them and I wanted to play some bigger schools.

“Plaquemine is one of those monsters. A couple of years back, we were in a summer camp and they were one of the schools that was there, so we were able to get some 7-on-7 work while we were there.”

The Rams are still seeking a Week 5 opponent before beginning play in District 8-1A.

When competing in Class 1A in the past, the Rams normally were in a district consisting of the likes of White Castle and Ascension Catholic. West St. John will face a set of new league opponents this season.

“That’s what makes it interesting,” said Walters, whose team was 5-8, including a trip to the Class 2A quarterfinals. “We haven’t played any of these schools except for Varnado a few years back. I used to coach at Clark right before (Hurricane) Katrina. The other schools, we’re not really familiar with them in football.”

West St. John is at home for its first three district games. The Rams open league play Week 6 against Houma Christian, followed by contests against Covenant Christian and Varnado.

The Rams close out the regular season at J.S. Clark and St. Martin’s Episcopal.

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.