Any West St. John Rams who may go on to play college football shouldn’t have any problem with game days.
For the second week in a row, the Rams will be playing on a Saturday afternoon. This time, West St. John will be hosting Salmen at 2 p.m. in Edgard for Homecoming.
The Rams are 1-2, coming off a road loss last Saturday at McDonogh 35.
West St. John trailed 7-0 at halftime before taking an 8-7 lead but was unable to hold on as turnovers doomed the Rams once again, this time leading to a 22-14 loss.
“We were trying to manage the clock and had two interceptions and a fumble,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said of the late-game collapse.
In last year’s game against Salmen, Wantrell Williams returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, but the Rams would score only twice more the rest of the game in falling 31-20 the Spartans.
Williams is gone, but so too is the player who proved to be a nemesis for the Rams.
Salmen’s Mikell Marco rushed for three touchdowns and scored on a pass reception, but he has since graduated and taken his 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns from a year ago with him.
Without him, the Spartans have changed their offense a bit in 2020.
“They seem to be a lot more spread now, although they do have a back that they like to get the ball to, Karl Owens. He’s pretty much a bruiser back there. They get the ball a lot to him in space,” said Walters.
Salmen’s quarterback is Jack Gillikan.
“They don’t run the Wing-T and power stuff like they did a lot last year. They are more a spread, open team. He gets the ball around to a lot of different receivers,” Walters said.
The Spartans are throwing the ball due to having a bevy of receivers. Jaylan Scott and Corey Wood return from last year. Other options include Mitchell Taylor and Davonti Taylor.
“Their wide receiver corps is pretty large. They have a bunch of them over there and they mix them up and move them in and do different things,” said Walters.
The Spartans show a 3-3-Stack look on defense.
“Defensively, they move around a lot. They try to crowd the line of scrimmage,” Walters said.
The strength of the Salmen defense is its linebacker corps.
Two of the linebackers are Karl Simmons and Ethan Steevens.
Brandon Acker, yet another receiver, also plays linebacker.
“They utilize him is coverage,” pointed out Walters.
With a number of returning players, Salmen is off to a 2-1 start and is over .500 for the first time at any point since 2017.
“I think we match up pretty well with Salmen,” said Walters. “Where we are strong at defensively that will be able to match up with what they do offensively. They try to blitz a lot defensively and we have to make sure we get guys picked up and accounted for.
“We have to do what we do well, and that’s run the football. We’ve had three successful games at pounding the ball and we won’t get away from that.”
A win also would provide the Rams with a bit of payback.
“We lost to them last year. We felt like we should have won. We get them here for Homecoming and we will see what we can do,” Walters said.