The Wildcats (0-2) started the season ranked eighth in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s football poll.
“They have some really good team speed, especially on defense,” the 13-year coach said. “It was good for our kids to play against some guys who can run with them, that can only help us in the future.”
Patterson (1-0) looked pretty good in last week’s 36-0 beat down of Central Lafourche (0-2). The Jacks rolled up 428 yards of total offense against the 5A Trojans’ defense. Senior quarterback Justice Jones hit on 20-of-27 passes for 263 yards and four touchdowns for the Class 3A state runners-up. Jones completed 172-of-313 passes for 2,531 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season earning all-state honors.
“I was very pleased with the high completion percentage,” Minton said. “Anytime you throw the ball that well, you have to be happy.”
Wide receivers Jaydrick Declouet and Earl Andrews both put up some big numbers in the team’s opener. Declouet caught nine passes for 92 yards and three scores, while Andrews had five catches for 92 yards. Declouet was the team’s leading receiver last season with 34 catches for 605 yards and seven scores.
The Jacks also had 165 yards on the ground in the game.
“The running game was spotty,” Minton said. “We have to hold our blocks longer upfront. Running the football is an attitude; we’ve got to be more aggressive.”
Mark Jones had 62 yards on eight carries with a TD, while Trevon Stewart carried fives times for 53 yards.
“We’re young upfront but we are committed to running the football and our linemen are getting better every week,” Minton said. “I’m confident that we’ll be a good run team later in the season.”
St. James will be trying to avoid their third straight 0-3 start. The Wildcats lost 45-22 to Destrehan last week on the road.
St. James had issues coming out the gate, as it had minus-15 yards rushing at one point in the first quarter. The Wildcats managed to make just two first downs in the first half and gained only 3 yards rushing on four carries. St. James finished with 88 yards rushing on 28 carries and completed three passes on 15 attempts for 26 yards.
Meanwhile, Destrehan rolled up 399 total yards, including 241 yards passing. Quarterback Dillan Dent completed five of seven passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns.
St. James quarterback Shaquille Narcisse was just 3-of-15 passing for 26 yards, he also ran eight times for 10 yards.
Junius Champagne was the team’s leading rusher with four carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, while Lester Verret carried 12 times for 34 yards with a TD.
“They have some good skill people,” Minton said. “They want to highlight the quarterback and he’s probably their best all-around athlete. We have to put the brakes on him if we want to be successful.”
The Jacks’ defense pitched a shutout last week allowing just 168 yards total offense.
All-State linebacker Lorenzo Phillips was up to his old tricks with two sacks in the opener, while tackling-machine Tremaine Lightfoot forced one fumble and recovered another.
“We tackled well last week and that’s always a big worry early in the season,” Minton said. “We did overrun a couple plays but we also forced four turnovers, putting our offense on a short field.”
St. James tacked on two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter when Destrehan had replaced its first-team defense. One was a 37-yard touchdown run by Champagne, and the other was a 2-yard run by Verret on the game’s final play.
Patterson beat St. James 40-13 last season.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.