For defensive backs in particular and teams in general, it’s good to have a short memory.
That’s hard to do when you are coming off a 38-36 loss like West St. John. The Rams got to within two points of McDonogh 35 with 1:11 left in the game and seemed to convert a two-point conversion.
WSJ receiver Trenton Grow was called for pass interference, wiping out the two points. The Rams failed on their second try for two, losing 38-36.
“We were up, we were down. We fought back and we fought to the end. It’s tough when it call comes down to a call – and it clearly was a bad call. You can’t cry about officiating but it’s tough,” said West St. John coach Brandon Walters.
His Rams (3-2) have done their best to put the game behind then as West St. John prepared for Friday’s encounter against Salmen (2-3).
“I think the kids have a short memory when it comes to that. Everybody who was at the game, saw it, or was a part of it, kind of understood what took place. It’s frustrating and definitely disappointing to go through that in that way. We don’t have time to cry about it. We have to get ready for the next game,” said Walters.
Something that won’t soon be forgotten was the performance of Trenton Grow. The senior receiver hauled in nine catches for a whopping 345 yards and five touchdowns. He also had a 7-yard touchdown run.
Although Salmen is a Class 4A team, the Spartans actually may have more players going both ways than the Class 1A Rams.
“I’m sure they are trying to find the best 11 guys to kind of get their things going. In that aspect of it, it will be a little more evenly balanced. We don’t have as many kids going both ways but it does it take its toll when we take on bigger rosters,” Walters said.
Regardless of where he might line up, everyone in the stadium knows the ball will go to Salmen’s Mikell Marco.
“Their quarterback, or running back, whatever you want to call him, Mikell Marco, is special. He touches the ball 85-90 percent of the time. The offense runs through him. He’s on kick returns. He does it all for them.
“We have to get him stopped. We have to be prepared to hit on him and be physical with him. He’s a really big kid and likes to run through people and over people.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound senior is mostly a running back but will get behind center.
“At quarterback, he throws it a little but he’s basically taking off with it. It’s zone-read type stuff,” Walters explained.
Otherwise, Jack Gillikin is at quarterback for the Spartans.
“He can throw it,” Walters said of Gillikin. “He’s a lot better than Marco throwing the ball. When we do see him under center or in the backfield and if Marco is not back there next to him, then he (Gillikin) is going to throw the ball.”
Running behind a big offensive line anchored by guard Marcus Brito, the Spartans do hand the ball off to running backs beside Marco.
“Carl Jones an Karl Owens are also in the backfield. Jones is a much harder runner. He seems like more of a true running back but Owens also gets in there and spells him a little. Jones also plays defensive end/outside linebacker,” said Walters.
Karl Simmons, the team’s middle linebacker, is used on offense as a blocking fullback.
Many of the same players who start on offense turn around and play defense for Salmen.
“From the d-line, to the linebackers to the secondary, it’s everybody,” Walters said.
The Spartans are based out of an odd-man front.
“The linebackers are really up there in the box. The standup guys on the end bring pressure. One of those guys, Carl Jones, comes off the edge a lot,” Walters explained. “Karl Simmons is in there in the box as a linebacker and they will blitz him a little bit.
“Coverage-wise, they play a cover-2 and some cover-3. They have pretty much the same athletes on offense coming over and try to help on defense.”
As West St. John seeks its fourth win the season, the Rams will try to accomplish the feat while keeping one thing in mind.
“We will try to make sure we lock down what we need to secure the win and kind of take it out of the hands of a call at the end of the game,” Walters said.