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WSJ seeks more consistency in hopes of another playoff run

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  • George Becnel
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  • November 10, 2016 - 9:41am

File photosWest St. John would like to duplicate the 2015 postseason when a sub-.500 Rams team made a deep run in the playoffs.

“They’ve kind of had a year similar to us. They’ve been up and down. They win a game here and lose two and come back and win one. They’ve had a pretty tumultuous season, just like us,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said, referring to East Feliciana, the Rams’ playoff-opening opponent.

Like West St. John (3-7), East Feliciana (6-4) has been inconsistent. The Tigers have been streaky with two losses to open the season, followed by three wins, another two loss, and four wins going into the playoffs.

Another area of similarity is squad size. Like the Rams, the Tigers have a limited roster.

“That’s definitely some good news for us to see teams that are pretty much on the same level as us personnel-wise and the number of kids they have to be able to choose from. When you have smaller numbers, you know who’s out there,” Walters said.

The contrast between the teams may come in the form of competition. East Feliciana’s four-game winning streak came against Christian Life, Mentorship Academy, Capitol and Northeast – teams with a combined 11-29 record for the season.

Expect for winless Sophie B. Wright, the Rams’ other district opponents – Country Day, Riverside, St. Charles and Newman – went a combined 29-9.

Offensively, the Tigers like to run the football.

“They will run a little unbalanced every now and then in short yardage and goal-line situations. They come in a Pro-I set with a tight end and two receivers and a fullback and try to muscle you around a little bit,” Walters said.

Running the East Feliciana offense is quarterback Marvell Jackson. His top targets are Josh Taylor and Maleek Chriss.

The Tigers’ main runner is Gemontae Franklin.

“Gemontae Franklin is a real skilled guy. He can fly and they give him the ball a lot,” said Walters.

East Feliciana lines up in a 4-2-5 defense.

“They send a lot of pressure from their safeties and one or two of the linebackers. They try to get a lot of pressure on you and make you make mistakes. They get a real good push from their nose guard. He just gets in there and just tries to overpower you a little bit,” Walters said.

The nose guard Walters referred to is Charvares Wilson, a 6-foot, 250 pounder, who also starts on the offensive line.

Although the Rams are 3-7 on the season, they aren’t likely to encounter many teams tough that the ones they faced during the regular season.

“We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen all types of teams. We’ve seen the good, the bad, the biggest, the fastest,” Walters said. “We definitely feel like we are prepared. It’s just a matter of us going out there and executing and doing what we can do to take the win.

“We faced some different challenges this year that the record doesn’t speak for. It’s definitely a different team as far as players and the capabilities to do some of the things we did last year. This team is unique in itself. It’s kind of built more around running the ball. I think if we can do that successfully in this playoff run, we will be fine.”

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.