ST. FRANCISVILLE — The fifth-seeded West Feliciana football team was greeted by fireworks as it took the field Friday against No. 28 Westlake in a Class 3A playoff contest. But it was the Saints’ offense that unleashed an explosion of 28 first-half points en route to a 34-6 triumph over the visiting Rams.
West Feliciana improved to 9-2 for the season and will travel next Friday to No. 21-seeded Donaldsonville, a 24-13 winner over Iowa.
“One thing is I’ve been fortunate in the 20 years I’ve been here, 10 as head coach, to have good athletes at this school,” said West Feliciana coach Robb Odom. “We’re fortunate because our kids step up each week and they do better and want to improve.”
The Saints defense held the Rams to 12 net rushing yards and 92 passing yards with only eight first downs for the game. Their offense, meanwhile, was powerful and efficient. Quarterback Ryan Reed completed 4 of 5 passes for 92 yards and a TD and the Saints ran for 237 yards and four scores as they dominated the contest. Receiver Jazz Ferguson’s only reception was 35-yard TD as he and the other starters sat for most of the second half.
The Saints scored on their first three possessions. After linebacker Hunter Smith intercepted a pass on the third play of the game, Reed hit Ferguson, who out-jumped a defender and coasted into the end zone.
Chris Palm’s PAT put the Saints ahead 7-0.
Westlake quarterback Hunter Racca was injured during the first series and backup Ryan Butler played the rest of the way.
After the Rams offense sputtered on its second series, they punted and the Saints got the ball at their 39. On the next play, Reed carried around the left side and down the sideline for a 61-yard TD. Palm’s PAT pushed the lead to 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
After another three-and-out by Westlake, West Feliciana took over at its 33 and marched 67 yards in six plays, with fullback Steven Franks bulling his way to a score from the 11-yard line for a 21-0 lead for the Saints.
On the second play of the second quarter, Butler’s pass was intercepted by Damien Straughter and he returned it 23 yards to Westlake’s 4-yard line. Running back Desmond Wilson punched the ball into the end zone for a TD and Palm’s PAT pushed the Saints ahead 28-0 and they carried that advantage to halftime.
WFHS received the second-half kick and two plays later, running back R.C. Carmenia broke off right tackle and outran the defense for a 56-yard TD. Palm missed the PAT, but the Saints held a 34-0 edge. The visitors managed to score late in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard run by Jaden Morgan, but missed the PAT.
“We lost our quarterback on the first series and that made us change how we do things right away,” said Westlake coach Shawn Demeritt, who saw his team end its season 2-9.
“But don’t take anything away from them, they have a great ballclub and they can go a long way. I’ve been watching them on film all week and they’re very talented on offense and they’re defense plays fast and aggressive. They are bigger than they appear on film. They’re well coached, too, and they could go a long way in the playoffs.”