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White Castle back on West St. John schedule as non-district opponent

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  • George Becnel
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  • September 27, 2017 - 9:37am

File photosThe last time West St. John faced the White Castle Bulldogs, a former district opponent, Robert Valdez (center) still was the coach of the Rams.

A West St. John-White Castle clash in years past usually meant a district title or playoff advancement was on the line.

It will be a bit different Friday night when the teams meet in Edgard in the Rams’ final pre-district game.

“We had some battle royals that go back a couple years,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “I’ve been a part of them, on the good side and the bad side. There were a couple of times where we played them in the season for the district championship and then had to come back and play in the playoffs. We definitely are familiar with the program. We play them in basketball, as well. It’s definitely a rivalry similar to St. James. Both communities really back their kids and their programs.”

After a two-year stint in Class 2A, West St. John is back in Class 1A but no longer in the same district as White Castle as in past years.

White Castle enters the game 1-3 on the season while West St. John is 2-2. The Rams are coming off a 41-28 loss at Plaquemine in which Green Devils running back Wayne Toussant, a Louisiana Tech commitment, rushed for 107 yards and four touchdowns while hauling in a touchdown reception.

“The crazy part is we kept letting him out on third-and-long. On first and second down, early in the drives, we’d have him under control and we always let them out. That’s unfortunate, but he’s a hell of an athlete. It’s just a rare occasion when you get to see a kid that is that special,” Walters said of Toussant.

The Bulldogs employ a spread attack on offense.

“They like to give you trips and doubles. They spread the ball around a lot. The quarterback (Javier Batiste) is shifty. He likes to run around with it. If it’s not there, he will take off with it and beat you with his feet,” Walters explained.

White Castle’s top runner is Tyron Simon.

“He’s a shifty kid. You have to wrap him up to get him down. They primarily like to give him the ball,” said Walters.

The White Castle receiving corps consists of Demarius Stewart, Kevin Coleman, Jeremie Richard and Unique Young. Stewart, at 6-foot-2, is the primary target.

“They like to throw him the jump ball. He gets a lot of fade routes and one-on-one matchups and they get him the ball a lot,” said Walters.

The Bulldogs are based out of a 3-4 scheme on defense but will go to a 4-2-5 depending on the type of offense they might be facing.

“They fly around a lot. They will bring pressure with the two inside guys and they will send them from the edge. In goal line situations, they pretty much crowd the box and are sending the house,” Walters said.

Several Bulldogs players go both ways, including Simon, who plays linebacker on defense.

“The fact that Simon is over there says he’s an athlete. You put him on defense, that’s says enough in and of itself,” said Walters.

Stewart, Young and Richard are all starters in the secondary.

“This is the part of the year where we are more evenly matched. People have to play those guys on both sides of the ball. It’s more of iron man football. Our guys are used to going three ways. The best ones will stay on the field,” Walters explained.

While West St. John is .500 through four games, the results could have been much better, according to Walters.

“I feel we could be 4-0 right now,” the West St. John coach said. “We dropped two touchdowns against Plaquemine in which we were wide open. Those two touchdowns, we’re looking at a tie game. We are still trying to erase mentally the debacle at St. James, having them on the ropes and not being able to put them away.

“We definitely feel we could be 4-0 and we know right now West St. John is West St. John’s biggest enemy. If we can clean up the things we need to clean up and be more consistent with what we do, the sky’s the limit for us.”

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.