Jeremy Jackson returned to the field and West St. John returned to form with a 36-20 victory over Ellender on Friday night at South Terrebonne Stadium in Bourg.
Back from an injury, Jackson rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown as the Rams snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 3-2 on the season.
“We got the ship back on track,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez.
West St. John grabbed the lead with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. Rams quarterback Austin Howard capped a 15-play drive to give WSJ an 8-0 lead.
The Rams attempted an on-side kick but the Patriots recovered. West St. John was not hurt by the gamble when Ellender (3-2) failed to take advantage of the favorable field position.
An 18-yard run by Bradley Borne midway in the second quarter extended the West St. John lead to 15-0. Borne finished with 70 yards rushing.
Howard hooked up with Jackson on a 70-yard touchdown pass to give the Rams a 23-0 edge with slightly more than two minutes remaining before halftime.
The Rams once again tried an on-side kick. Ellender came up with the recovery and this time managed to capitalize on the field position. Patriots quarterback Dustin Creppel connected on back-to-back passes to Dan Mitchell. The second hookup was good for a 28-yard touchdown. Creppel’s two-point conversion made the score 23-8 at halftime.
Taking a page out of the Rams’ playbook, Ellender pulled off a fake punt in the third quarter. The Patriots eventually scored on a 9-yard run to make it 23-14.
Following West St. John’s lead, the Patriots went for another fake kick. Ellender managed to recover but was unable to take advantage of the field position.
West St. John padded its lead to 29-14 on a 22-yard run by Jackson but Ellender countered on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Crepel to Jaharri Gahno as the Patriots rallied to within nine points at 29-20.
The Rams put the game out of reach on a 1-yard run by Howard for the 36-20 final. Howard rushed for 47 yards in the game. He also was 7 of 10 passing for 128 yards.
Physical play by the Rams, Valdez said, was a key to West St. John’s victory over the Class 4A Patriots.
“They have some tremendous athletes,” Valdez said of the Patriots. “To keep them in check was a good job defensively.”