Top 2 teams in Class 1A compete tonight

Published 12:03 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

It will be No. 1 vs. No. 2 tonight at West St. John, as Varnado’s Wildcats face the Rams in a District 8-1A contest at 7 p.m.
Varnado enters this week with a 4-2 overall record and 2-0 record in district. The Wildcats are No. 2 in the unofficial LHSAA Class 1A power rankings. Varnado has won two straight games since its bye week, which included a 32-0 victory over St. Martin’s Episcopal last week. Varnado is among those receiving votes in the Class 1A Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association poll.
Varnado’s two losses have been to Albany and North Vermilion. Albany (6-1) is 17th in the unofficial LHSAA Class 3A power rankings while North Vermilion (5-2) is 21st.
“We’ve got our hands full,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “This is a playoff-caliber game. It’s the kind of game that everybody in the state will be checking on to see what happens. West St. John is kind of the front-runner to win state. This game will kind of tell us if we’re playoff ready or not.”
Last week, Varnado’s offense struggled at times, committing five turnovers.
“Last week, we were a little sloppy, but we had just come off a big game with Covenant Christian (36-13 win). Sometimes you have a little letdown, but we did win by a lot and that says a lot about your kids,” Shaffett said.
Shaffett said the defense played lights out. The defense did not allow a first down until about four minutes left in the third quarter.
“This week, we’ve got a huge challenge on both sides of the ball. West St. John is very big, physical and athletic on both sides of the ball,” Shaffett said.
Desmond Harry scored two touchdowns with runs of 7 yards and 1 yard, and also had a pair of two-point conversions for the Wildcats last week.
JaDarrell Magee had a two-point conversion.
Armontee Kemp intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown and the team recorded a safety.
West St. John enters this week with a 5-2 overall record and 2-0 record in district. West St. John is the No. 1 team in Class 1A.
The Rams have won three straight, including a 53-7 win over Covenant Christian Academy last week.
The Rams two setbacks have been against St. James and Plaquemine. St. James (6-1) is No. 1 in Class 3A while Plaquemine is (5-2) is sixth in Class 4A.
“This week, we’ve been out Monday and Tuesday for our fall break, but we’ve been able to get work in in the mornings toward the game and enjoying the good fall weather. We’re facing a good Varnado team and we’re doing everything we can to prepare for them to get a win Friday night,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said.
West St. John has older players on the lines and younger players at different positions, Walters said. Walters said the offensive line, which features four seniors and a junior, averages about 280-300 pounds.
Sophomore quarterback D’Andre Gaudia has thrown for 1,500 yards with 14 touchdowns. Walters said Gaudia is a young player who is progressing, picking up the game and improving each week.
Sophomore running back Kylan Duke is a speed back who has more than 800 yards rushing with three touchdowns. He also has 300 yards receiving and three scores.
Junior fullback Niko Roy is a bigger back that has 700 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Roy also plays middle linebacker. He had pick-six last week and enters with three for the year.
Sophomore receiver Trenton Grow, who plays some free safety, is at 500 yards receiving with five scores offensively and two interception returns for touchdowns defensively.
Walters said sophomore D’Kyri Johnson is one of the faster players on the team. He plays wide receiver, running back and some corner back.
Defensively, the leaders up front include senior defensive tackles Kelon Gardner (5-foot-11, 255 pounds) and Horace Lewis (6-2, 285). Gardner also plays middle linebacker, and Lewis is also the kicker.
They are flanked by ends senior Covan Barnes (6-1, 240) and junior Jonathan Porter (6-3, 225). Walters said that porter is a speed rusher who can also play the run. Barnes also plays linebacker.
Sophomore Wantrell Williams is a free safety, running back and kick returner. He scored two touchdowns last week. He had three touchdowns called back last week and has intercepted three passes this year.
Walters said sophomore strong-side linebacker Zyron Wilson has been coming on strong.
The Rams’ defense has recorded 29 sacks this year.