Playing Riverdale in Week 2 may be coming at just the right time for West St. John after a 28-8 season-opening loss to rival St. James.
“I think the fact we have a school like Riverdale that we normally don’t play is a clean slate for (the Rams),” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said. “It’s somebody they are not familiar with.
“There’s a whole lot of type and pressure and you name it that goes into the preparation for the St. James game. It’s good to come back down. For me, it’s good to go on the road and play them.”
The timing may be opportune but perhaps not the time of day.
After going through a brutally hot and humid game last week against St. James, the Rams (0-1) will be playing a mid-September day game in Louisiana. West St. John takes on Riverdale at 2 p.m. Saturday at Joe Yenni Stadium.
“Playing at two o’clock and the heat, it doesn’t get any hotter than that. But we will manage,” said Walters.
“It’s an adjustment having to leave at midday. We are not driving five hours to play somebody up north but we are leading midday for a maybe a 40-minute drive and play. It’s just different dynamics,” the West St. John coach said.
Riverdale (0-1) has yet to score on the season after an opening day 29-0 loss to Loranger.
Andrew Sandifer is the all-everything for the Rebels on offense despite the senior’s 5-foot-5, 150-pound frame.
“He plays running back and wide receiver. They use him for everything,” said Walters. “He’s a good kid. He’s very, very shifty and a very speedy guy.
“He’s not easy to bring down. He’s a small kid but he’s really hard to corral. They will put him in the slot. They will put him at wideout. They will put him in the backfield. He touches the ball a whole lot.”
Defensively, the Rebels will show different looks.
“Defensively, they are a split-40. They will go back to a traditional 4-2-5 and they will show you some 3-3 Stack. They get after you. They will send some blitzes,” Walters said.
The Riverdale game is the first of three-straight road games. Four of the next five games will be away from Edgard.
As usual, the games come against schools generally much higher than West St. John’s Class 1A status. Riverdale, for example, is a Class 4A school. That comes on the heels of opening the season against Class 5A East St. John in a jamboree and Class 3A St. James a week ago.
“We’ve taken our licks on the chin the last couple of weeks playing the big boys but it helps prepare us. It makes us better. It gives us an opportunity to test ourselves against quality players,” Walters said.