Varnado faces West St. John tonight in regionals

Published 3:05 pm Friday, November 21, 2014

Varnado collected its first playoff win last week since the 2009 season.

Tonight, the Wildcats look to advance further in the Class 1A postseason and play West St. John on the road.

The 14th-seeded Wildcats are coming off of a 44-8 victory over No. 19 Ringgold.

The victor of tonight’s game plays either sixth-seeded Plain Dealing or 11th-seeded Block.

Last week, D.J. Jefferson accounted for three touchdowns last week. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for another.

His scoring run was 25 yards. His passing touchdowns went to Delrick Abrams for 68 yards and Wilbert Gray on a 25 yarder. Gray finished with 45 yards rushing on five carries (nine yards per carry).

“I thought that D.J. took a leadership role last week,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “He stepped up his game. He was a vocal leader all week long.”

Defensively, Abrams and Damon Kirsch made five tackles each and Dearius Parker was in on four stops.

Shaffett said West St. John is very athletic especially at the skill positions.

“They like to throw the ball and they throw it well,” Shaffett said. “Their running back is quick, shifty. You’ve got to stop him for sure. One of the keys for us to be successful is for us to stop their running back. They run a lot of screens, so we’ll have slow them down on that. We have to come up and make the tackles. They try to get you with their athletes 1-on-1 and break a long one. They’ve been doing that all year long.”

Shaffett said open-field tackling is very important.

“At times this year we’ve done really well and at times we haven’t,” Shaffett said. “They key is this week will be our open field tackling.”

West St. John is the third-seeded team. Last week, the group had a bye through the bi-district round.

West St. John is 8-2 this season. The only two losses came in consecutive weeks to Riverside Academy and Holy Cross.

Riverside is 11-0 and is the third-seeded team in Division III. Riverside enters the second round of the playoffs this week after beating Pope John Paul II, 63-7.

Holy Cross went 5-5 in the regular season before falling to Teurlings Catholic, 45-21, as the No. 10 seed in Division I.