There was much hype and anticipation leading up to Thursday night’s game between West St. John and St. James.
Not only was it the 2014 season-opener between two huge River Parishes rivals, the game also marked the opening of St. James High’s brand new football stadium at the site of what will be the new school. Fans began arriving at the site in the middle of the cane fields at 10 a.m., tailgating throughout the day as the excitement built .
And the game proved to be one for the ages as the Rams defeated the Wildcats 39-30.
St. James spotted West St. John a 29-0 lead in the first half before rallying for 30 points in the third quarter to give its fans hope. With 1:05 remaining in the third quarter, St. James led 20-29. But the Rams came back in the fourth quarter with a 28-yard field goal by Anfernee Lumar and an 8-yard touchdown run by Bradley Borne. A pair of interceptions by West St. John’s Jamal Walters in the final five minutes crushed the Wildcats’ hopes for another comeback.
St. James quarterback Lowell Narcisse passed for 320 yards and three touchdowns, ran for another and three 2-point conversions in a losing effort. The Wildcats were hampered by more than 100 yards in penalties.
Rams starter Jermoine Green passed for 117 yards and threw three touchdowns.
After a sluggish start by both teams, West St. John started its onslaught with 6:50 to play in the first quarter. The Rams drove from their own 13-yard line to the St. James 18 on 12 plays with the help of a slew of St. James penalties, including two personal foul calls. When the drive stalled, Lumar kicked a 35-yard field goal with 2:50 remaining in the quarter.
After holding the Wildcats to three plays on their next possession. West St. John took advantage of a short field for its next score. The Rams drove from the 46-yard line to the St. James 5 on nine plays, capped by a 5-yard pass from Jermoine Green to Morrell Bartholomew. Green threw to Nicholas Borne for the 2-point conversion to put the Rams ahead 11-0.
The Rams followed that with a seven play, 74 yard drive with Green again connecting with Bartholomew, this time for 10 yards. The PAT kick failed, leaving West St. john with a 17-0 lead with 6:28 to play in the half.
Green would throw one more touchdown, this one to Lamore Boudoin for 6 yards with 4:10 remaining in the half. Then, with 32 seconds remaining in the half, backup quarterback Juwan Boudoin threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Bartholomew.
Heading into the brand-new, never-used locker room at halftime, the Rams had to be feeling pretty good. But St. James came out of their locker room with a new game.
St. James took the opening kickoff and needed only five plays to score. On second-and-10 at his own 37-yard line, Narcisse connected with Houston Wiggins on a 63-yard touchdown pass. Narcisse ran for the 2-point conversion.
Narcisse then ran for a 34-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion. He later threw a 37-yard pass to Dontaze Costly. With 1:05 remaining in the third quarter.
Narcisse threw a 20-yard pass to Curtlan Johnson to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 30-29.
But then the Rams rallied. With 6:39 to play, Lumar’s 30-yard field goal attempt bounced off the crossbar and across to give the Rams a 32-30 lead. Bradley Borne added an 8-yard touchdown with 6:09 remaining to cap the scoring.