The two new head coaches in the River Parishes are still seeking their first victories of the season.
Brandon Walters’ West St. John Rams took advantage of numerous penalties by Amite to score on a 70-yard drive, took advantage of a short field for another score and came up with a big defensive stand to salvage a 14-14 tie in the first game of the East St. John Jamboree on Thursday night at Joe Keller Stadium in Reserve.
Meanwhile, Alton Foster saw his East St. John Wildcats fall behind early before settling down in eventually falling 19-6 to Landry-Walker.
In other jamboree action Thursday, St. James dominated Donaldsonville 32-0 and Hahnville was blanked by Jesuit 17-0.
West St. John 14, Amite 14: The Ram fell behind early when Amite scored on its opening drive. Amite faced fourth-and-1 from the West St. John 20 when a personal foul against the Rams gave the Warriors first-and-goal at the 10. Kenner Harrell scored on the next play to give Amite a 6-0 lead.
West St. John moved 70 yards in the closing moments of the 15-minute first half to take a 7-6 edge. The Warriors were guilty of a face mask penalty, an offside call, a personal foul and interference in the end zone to help keep the drive alive. On first-and-goal from the 4-yard line, quarterback Jemoine Green tossed to Jabari Walters for the touchdown and Glenn Grayman’s conversion gave WSJ its 7-6 lead with less than a minute remaining in the half.
A long pass play from Amite quarterback Elijah Walker to Devonta Smith allowed the Warriors to reach the West St. John 3-yard line. The Warriors barely managed to get the snap off before time expired when Walker and Smith hooked up again for the touchdown and a 2-point conversion gave Amite a 14-7 halftime lead.
“It very easily could have been a shutout,” Walters said. “I don’t want to say I’m satisfied with it but I am kind of pleased with the way the guys played considering we had a whole lot of guys out with injuries. We had to put people here, put people there.”
West St. John’s defense forced a punt from deep in Amite territory on the opening possession of the second half, giving the Rams the ball at the Warriors’ 36. Taking advantage of a pass interference call and an offside penalty, WSJ eventually scored on a 1-yard run by Austin Alexander to tie the game 14-14 at the 10:06 mark of the second half.
“We know we have quick-score capability. We just have to make sure we take advantage of it when opportunities present itself,” said Walters.
Late in the second half, the Warriors faced first-and-goal from the Amite 2-yard line. A mishandled exchange for a 6-yard loss and three false start penalties against the Warriors moved Amite back. Two of the false start calls came one play after a pass interference call in the end zone by the Rams turned a third-and-goal from the 20 to a third-and-goal from the 10. Facing fourth-and-goal from the 30, Walker’s pass attempt with less than one minute left in the game fell incomplete, allowing the Rams to salvage a tie.
“We take pride in playing lights-out defense. We hang our hat on the defense and we will continue to try to get better at it,” Walters said.
Landry-Walker 19, East St. John 6: The Charging Buccaneers scored only two plays into the game on a 59-yard strike from quarterback Keytaon Thompson to Tevin Bush for a quick 6-0 lead.
On Landry-Walker’s second possession, the Charging Buccaneers faced third-and-37 from their own10-yard line. Thompson dumped off a screen pass to his right to Bush. Bush reversed field after making the catch and raced along the sidelines for a 90-yard touchdown and 13-0 Landry-Walker lead.
“Third-and-37, we’re just trying to get off the field and they’re just trying to get off the field by throwing a screen. The kid made a hell of a play and we didn’t tackle,” lamented Foster.
East St. John had several opportunities to get back in the game. One drive ended on an interception of an Alvin Jackson pass at the Landry-Walker 4-yard line. The other ended at the 16, with both passes being picked off by Michael Lee.
“One was a blown route and one was when we didn’t get the call from the sideline. It was supposed to be a speed sweep,” Foster said of the interceptions. “It’s growing pains. It’s just like last week. We moved the ball in the time possession against Karr (in a scrimmage). That’s against two quality football teams.”
East St. John’s lone score came when the Wildcats took advantage of a muffed punt that gave ESJ new life at its own 44. It took seven plays for East St. John to score when Shayhan Williams scored on a 2-yard run. The extra point attempt was blocked, making the 13-6 midway in the second half.
The scoring drive for East St. John came after the Wildcats came up with a defensive stand, stopping the Charging Buccaneers a yard short on fourth-and-goal from the ESJ 8-yard line.
“When we got a turnover, we punched it in and put a good drive together. It’s just (about) finishing,” said Foster.
After a late touchdown made the score 19-6, a fight broke out between the two teams after the Charging Buccaneers failed on a two-point conversion attempt.
The game was halted for a few minutes before the teams met at midfield.
“We as adults have to show these kids how to get along. I believe in discipline before anything. Let’s play football and be competitive but we’re not going to fight. Let the pads do the talking,” Foster said.
A slow start for a second game in a row hampered the Wildcats’ effort.
“We’ve just got to get past that. I thought we were. At times we shined. The best part of it is we’re 0-0,” Foster said.
St. James 32, Donaldsonville 0: New starting quarterback Demarcus Williams tossed a pair of touchdown passes, Aquindas Steib ran for a touchdown and Tyren Jasmin returned a shanked punt for a touchdown to lead the Wildcats in their home jamboree against rival Donaldsonville.
Williams, a sophomore, also fumbled the ball racing into the end zone that offensive lineman Trevaughn Bolden recovered for a touchdown.
“He just keeps preparing and making sure he is ready. He’s putting himself into the best situation he can and he’s worked real hard. He performed well in his first two games and next week it starts for real. He does have a good command of what we are trying to do,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said of Williams.
Curtlan Johnson had more than 100 yards receiving and a long kickoff return.
Playing without star receiver Stephen Sullivan, Donaldsonville was held to zero yards total offense.
“Defensively, we are playing at a pretty high level and hopefully that will continue. A lot of guys are stepping up on that side of the ball,” Jenkins said.
St. James built a 20-0 halftime lead. The Wildcats could have added more points but failed to score on three trips into the red zone in the second half.
Jesuit 17, Hahnville 0: The Blue Jays scored on their first possession of the game when quarterback Peter Hontas tossed a 47-yard touchdown pass to Kalijah Lipscomb.
“I don’t even like jamborees,” Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “If you win, it doesn’t mean anything. If you lose, you feel like you are terrible. The fact of the matter is it doesn’t mean anything.
“There were a lot of positives that came out of it. We know what we need to work on. We played a very, very good football team and they took it to us. We know where we have to get better and we know what we needed to do to improve. Sometimes, I think that’s a better message in a game that doesn’t count than getting out and steamrolling somebody.”
Jesuit built upon its 7-0 halftime lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Connor Prouet and a 27-yard field goal by Crew Jacobs with less than two minutes remaining in the jamboree.
Hahnville’s defense allowed Jesuit to more than 200 yards of total offense, including more than 100 yards on the ground.
“I’m not that worried about it,” Saltaformaggio said of his team’s defensive effort. “We were very, very vanilla. When you are vanilla like that against a team that executes as Jesuit does and the players they have we kind of got in a crapshoot and that’s what kind of happened to us. It will be OK.”
The Tigers’ offense, meanwhile, only managed a bit more than 100 total yards. Hahnville’s ground game was limited to less than 20 yards.
“There were things we did constructively but we’ve got we’ve got to run the football. Part of our (lack of) running totals is we gave up running the ball. We just stopped calling runs,” Saltaformaggio said. “We’ll get a grasp on it and we will be fine.”