VACHERIE — 

– With a share of the District 9-3A title at stake Friday night, St. James showed its championship mettle against E.D. White.

The Wildcats defense dominated, holding the Cardinals to under 150 yards of offense, nabbing three interceptions and blocking two punts in a 31-0 victory at Wildcats Stadium.

“We didn’t play our best football. We got to give credit to them. That’s a good football team,” said Cardinals coach Kyle Lasseigne. “They did some things that didn’t let us control the game.”

The back-breaking play of the game was made by Wildcats lineman Sai’vion Jones late in the first half. He went untouched and blocked a punt, scooped up the ball and sprinted 34 yards for a touchdown that give St. James a 17-0 halftime lead.

“The punt before that I was close, but I held back,” said Jones, who is committed to LSU. “So I decided to go full out on the next one, was able to block it, got a lucky bounce that came right back to me.”

St. James (6-2, 4-1 district) defense forced six of E.D. White’s 11 drives to end in three-and-out punts. Wildcats defensive backs Carlos Price, Joel Cooper and J’Kory Ester each grabbed an interception off Cardinals quarterback Cailum Griggs.

“Our game plan was to win first and second down and put them in long third down situations to get them out of there comfort zone,” Valdez explained.

“The key to shutting down a team like this practice. The game don’t start on Friday; it starts on Monday,” Jones noted. “The way you prepare is the way you play in the game.”

On offense, the Wildcats used running back Daniel Jupiter (22 carries, 94 yards) as battering ram to control the clock. Kaden Williams rushed for two touchdowns of one and nine yards, and quarterback Marquell Bergeron tossed a nine-yard touchdown to Shazz Preston (7 catches, 149 yards).

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association will announce playoff pairings on Sunday. E.D. White (6-2, 4-1 district) hopes to avenge last year’s lopsided first round loss in the Division II playoffs, while St. James looks to repeat as Class 3A champions.

“We work hard to get how high we are in the ranking. In the playoffs, we’re going to work twice as hard as we did in the regular season,” Jones said.

“We’re going to take it week-by-week. There are things we still have to clean up to get better,” Valdez said. “The kids are going a great job. Looks like we’ll be back here in beautiful downtown Vacherie hosting a first round game. Whoever it is, we’re going to get back to basics and continue to improve."