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Rams overcome crazy night of football

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 23, 1998

EDGARD – During a crazy three and a half hours of football, West St. Johnovercame four power failures and a late charge by Loranger to advance to the quarterfinals with a 22-19 victory Friday night.

West St. John, 9-3, will play the winner of the Vinton-Port Barre gamenext Friday. Loranger concluded its season at 10-2.The Rams held a 14-9 lead late in the third quarter but was having trouble offensively. On a night when the lights at Ram Stadium would go out fourtimes in the second half, Brent Poche provided a spark of electricity by intercepting a Ian Sylve pass at the Loranger 40-yard line, bringing it back down the right sidelines before cutting in at the 5 for the score. BrianLumar then swept right on a reverse on the two point try, making it 22-9 as the third quarter ended.

Loranger got a golden opportunity two possessions later as the snap went over Lumar’s head on a punt attempt. Lumar fell on the ball at the West St.John 14-yard line. But the West St. John defense, as it did much of thenight, held in the red zone with Poche knocking away Sylve’s pass on fourth down.

Loranger got any chance with 6:18 remaining, taking over at the West St.

John 34-yard line. On the first play, Sylve had a wide open Lamarcus Whiteon the goal line but had the ball bounce off White’s fingertips. Two playslater, Calvin Gibbs made a leaping catch in the right corner and juked his way into the end zone, only to have the play call back because of an illegal man downfield penalty.

On the next play, Loranger tried a double pass but Ronnie Ford’s throw was intercepted by Jamar Bailey at the 14-yard line.

West St. John looked to run out the clock but could not and Carl Gauthiertook a deliberate safety by running out the back of the end zone on fourth down, cutting the lead to 22-11 with 3:18 left.

Jeremiah Faust returned the ensuing kickoff 36 yards to the West St. John44-yard line. On fourth-and-5 from the 38, Sylve connected with Gibbs for13 yards. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty brought the ball back to the40, but three plays later from the 25, Sylve scrambled down the left sidelines and snuck into the corner of the end zone for the score. On thetwo-point attempt, Loranger tried a fake field goal with Slyve finding Ford in the right side of the end zone for the points, making it 22-19 with 36.7 seconds left.Loranger had one more opportunity but Lumar fell on the ensuing on-sides kick and Gauthier kneeled down once to run out the clock.

The West St. John defense set the Rams up in good field position on eachof their first two possessions of the game. The Rams took over on theirown 48 on their first possession and on the first play, Gauthier found Troy Lagrange for a 20-yard gain. After a face masking penalty on the followingplay brought the ball to the 17, Dehaven Duronslet went up the middle for 8 yards and Bailey gained 4 for a first down at the 5. Two plays later,Duronslet bulled off right tackle for the score. Gauthier then connectedwith Donriel Louis for the two-point conversion, making it 8-0 with 7:03 remaining in the first quarter.

The defense held Loranger and the Rams took over at the Wolves 36-yard line after a short punt. On the first play, Bailey swept right and followedhis blocking for a 20-yard gain to the 16. After the Rams just missed atouchdown on the next play, Lagrange took in a screen pass on the right side and weaved his way to the end zone to complete a 21-yard scoring play. The try for two failed, leaving the score 14-0 with 4:39 left in theopening quarter.

Loranger finally got its offensive going on its next possession. Taking overat the Loranger 35, Faust and White took turns carrying to the West St.

John 44-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-4 from the 23, White took areverse, broke a tackle in the backfield and swept right for 18 yards to the 5. The Rams defense then stiffened, sacking Sylve for a 7-yard lossand forcing Loranger to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Sylve’s try was good,cutting the deficit to 14-3 with 9:43 remaining in the half.

West St. John appeared to extend its lead on its next possession, but an87-yard screen from Gauthier to Bailey was called back due to a clip. WestSt. John was forced to punt and Loranger took over at the West St. John37-yard line. Faust carried three times to the 22, but again West St. Johnheld, stopping Faust for one yard on fourth-and-3 from the 17.

Loranger had good field position on its next possession, taking over at the West St. John 34-yard line. Faust again did much of the damage, carryingtwice for 10 yards. White followed with a 10-yard sweep to the 13-yardline. The defense again rose to the challenge as Poche sacked Sylve for a9-yard loss. Sylve then attempted a 42-yard field goal but had it go shortand wide left, leaving the score 14-3 at the half.

The lights went out as the teams were coming back onto the field after halftime causing a 15-minute delay. When play resumed, West St. Johnbegan driving as Bailey ran for a 10-yard gain. Gauthier connected withLumar and Lagrange for gains of 8 and 14 yards, respectively, giving West St. John the ball at the Loranger 49-yard line. On the next play, Duronsletburst up the middle for a 13-yard gain. Two plays later, it was Duronsletup the middle again for 16 yards to the 17-yard line. But again the lightswent out and when play resumed 15 minutes later, Ford intercepted Gauthier’s pass at the goal line and returned it to the 21.

Loranger would pull closer two possessions later as Faust rumbled 34 yards to the West St. John 38-yard line. Two plays later, Sylve would gethis first completion of the game, an 8-yard strike to Gibbs. On the nextplay, Sylve found White behind the defense at the 10 with White taking it in for the score. The try for two failed, leaving West St. John in the leadat 14-9 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

West St. John finished with 188 yards in total offense. Duronslet carried14 times for 81 yards while Bailey had 11 carries for 55 yards. Gauthierhad four completions in 13 attempts for 63 yards. Lagrange had threecatches for 55 yards.

Loranger had 277 yards in total offense, 218 on the ground. Faust had 19carries for 104 yards. Sylve had 12 rushes for 51 yards but completed just3 of his 20 passes for 59 yards.

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