Westlake wide receiver Jacory Washington, right. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Monday, August 19, 2013 6:39 PMWESTLAKE — It has been six years since the Westlake Rams were just one point from grasping their first state championship in over 50 years, and they have managed to be one of Southwest Louisiana’s most consistent football programs since then.
They don’t plan on having that change anytime soon.
Second-year head coach Shawn Demeritt’s squad is armed with 11 returning starters and is currently one of several favorites to capture the District 4-3A title.
“I think that if we can stay relatively injury free, the sky is the limit for this team,” Demeritt said. “I am excited about the kids we have and I think if we can get into the playoffs healthy then we have a chance to do something special.”
The road to the district title won’t be an easy one, though. The Rams no longer have to deal with perennial state power Notre Dame and will face stiff competition with Iowa, Jennings and St. Louis.
“Our non-district schedule is brutal, but if we can get through it injury-free, step up defensively and get some luck going in our direction, then we can win the district championship,” said Demeritt.
The Rams return six starters on offense, including future LSU wide receiver Jacory Washington.
Washington, who led the team with 35 receptions for 476 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012, is an imposing figure, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in around 225 pounds.
“The biggest impact that (Washington) brings is his size and ability to create mismatches,” said Demeritt. “He is going to be bigger than any defensive back that he is going to face as well as most linebackers. Teams were forced to double team him a lot last year, and when they didn’t he usually made them pay for it.”
Also returning on offense for the Rams are linemen Tim Newsome and Jackie George, running back Jamar Peltier and Tim Hamilton and Tyler Johnson, who will alternate between quarterback and wide receiver.
Hamilton led the Rams in passing last season, throwing for 1,166 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Johnson had the most rushing yards of any returning player. Hamilton will also start at defensive back.
Taking over in two vacant skill position spots will be tight end Brady Patin and running back Keilynn Fadieu. The offensive line will see three new faces in senior Gordon Hall and juniors Trevin Clark and Adam Beets.
The Rams return five starters on defense. Four of those starters will be in the Rams’ front seven. Seniors Taylor Cryer and Dylan Spikes anchor a defensive line that welcomes sophomores Kelvonta Ellis and Triston Stump.
Senior Nick LeFrere, who led the team with five sacks last season, will be joined at linebacker by Jalen Thomas and returning starter Jaylin Peltier, as the Rams transition to a 4-3 defense.
“We are really expecting a big year from our front seven,” said Demeritt. “Dylan Spikes is a rare four-year starter, Taylor Cryer is a three-year starter, and we are depending on them to anchor our defensive line. We also have some playmakers at linebacker that I am really excited about.
“We have a tough schedule this year and we are really depending on this group to stop the run.”
The secondary will be commanded by Hamilton and returning starter Cameron LaFleur. Joining them will be senior John Mark and junior Armon Dunbar.
Posted By: P.Q. On: 8/20/2013
Title: Go Rams!
Lets do it this year!